Becoming a thankful person is always in season. With the US thanksgiving ahead and Canadian thanksgiving behind an emphasis on gratefulness is especially appropriate. But as soon as we mention national entities, patriotism sometimes triumphs over thankfulness. Humility reminds us to look beyond national stereotypes. As Paul points out to the Corinthian church, boasting is not only a form of ingratitude for God’s gifts but a form of stealing the credit from God for the good things we have and are. For “what do you have that you did not receive”(1 Cor 4:7)?
Am I a Canadian? Yes. But I have nothing to boast about. Is my wife, Mary Helen an American? Yes. She has nothing to boast about. Why? By God’s providence, we live in this geographic corner of the world. By God’s providence we are the benefactors of the efforts and interaction of a myriad of people, ideas and happenings over many years. This includes ideals of freedom and morality inspired by the Bible. In many ways, we are of all people most blessed. So, let me ponder some of the overlooked things we have for which to be grateful.
Our government. In spite of occasional scandals or inefficiencies, by and large, our government officials seek our welfare. Our armed forces protect us from external enemies who would destroy our democratic way of life. Our governments give generously to programs in other countries. Mary Helen and I both receive pension and old age security benefits, without which we could not pay our bills. Besides we receive various rebates. We are very grateful.
Our municipal and provincial governments. We drive on good roads with just a few potholes. We enjoy parks. Our grandchildren go to good schools. Our home is protected by firemen and police. We love our local library. Electricity makes our lives convenient. We are grateful.
Our health care system. Debatable? Rarely to us. We gratefully make appointments with doctors, labs, and go to the local hospital. It is all free. We pay $6.11 per prescription after a reasonable yearly deductible for necessary medicine. A bargain indeed!
Local and national businesses. We are grateful for technicians who fix our furnace, repair our telephone connections, and our car. We’re thankful for relatively reasonable Internet connection, and for banks, grocery stores, coffee shops, bookstores, and many more businesses.
Our farmers. We are grateful for the hard work and productivity of our farmers and for local markets where we can buy fresh produce.
We could, and should, make many additions to this list: the volunteers who raise money for charities and medical research plus the churches where we can worship freely without fear of harassment. Truly in this corner of the world we are blessed. Thank you Father!