What a remarkable fall we have enjoyed in Chicago this year – mild weather, abundance of sun and colorful leaves that remained on the trees more than a week. This alone might be sufficient to sustain thankful hearts through the Thanksgiving holidays.

Certainly we can find more reasons to be thankful. Consider that we are in a recession that has deleted the jobs of nearly ten percent of the work force. Melvin Durai says, “Be thankful if you have food on your plate, if you aren’t constantly hungry, if you don’t lick your lips whenever you spot your neighbor’s Chihuahua.”

This year I am reminded to be thankful every time I turn on a faucet in our house. When we bought our house eight years ago, our water pressure was weak. It seemed to decrease over time. The upstairs shower produced only a trickle if someone unwittingly started the dishwasher or washing machine. We announced our showers so that no one would flush a toilet or try to take a shower at the same time.

People told me that the pipes in old houses often fill with sludge over the years and I might have to replace mine. The expense of such a project would exceed my bank account by many zeroes, so I kept putting it off.

Our village began a major project along our street, replacing a water main and redoing curbs, sidewalks and street. For several months it has generated extensive dust and endless noise, causing some neighbors to complain.

One day they dug a hole in the parkway in front of our house. Later that day I turned on a faucet that gushed water like a fire hose. I said something to one of the workers who informed me that they discovered a kink in the line to my house and had repaired it. The water pressure would be even greater when they hooked up the new line.

The change was dramatic. I am sure our dishwasher finishes in half the time it used to take, because it fills so much faster. We can run all three showers at the same time and barely notice a difference. My daughter said she feels like she is at a hotel.

Our grateful spirits have endured for several weeks now. I keep wondering how long it will take for the current condition to dilute the memory of our former deplorable condition. How much longer will our thankfulness surge with the water in our home?

Sad that our gratefulness often depends upon comparing our situation with one that is worse. Do we really need to see starving children in Africa to make us appreciate the bounty of food we have? Must we conjure memories of lean financial times to appreciate our present economic comfort? Why can’t we be thankful just for what we have, not what we have in contrast to what others don’t have?

Is some deficiency of your life stealing all your attention and nullifying thankfulness? I can almost guarantee that God has blessed you with at least a thousand things for every one thing you don’t have. Don’t compare. Just look around. And revel in a feast of joy and thanksgiving this year.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creations.” (James 1:17-18)


About stanwiedeman

Christian seeking to find a biblical perspective on culture and life
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