Chuck Terrill: Thanksgiving Thoughts

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Sophisticated technology has revealed the heavens in new ways.

Astronomers have examined a solar system 25 light years away. The system's sun is called Fomalhaut, which is visible without the aid of a telescope. It is the 18th-brightest star in the sky. The Hubble Telescope has revealed at least three planets orbiting Formalhaut, one of which takes 785 years to complete a single orbit.

 Think of that: 785 years! If we were living on that planet, it would be just dandy to be born in spring, summer or fall. But, who would want to be born into 198 years of winter? On that planet, your birthday would come around only once in 785 years! We can be thankful that our planet orbits the sun in only 365 days.

It seems that the things we ought to be most thankful for are the things that we take most for granted. We take for granted the big things, and possibly the best things, in life.

If the stars chose to shine only every year or two, everyone would rush out to see them. If the sun became sporadic in its duties, we would rejoice when it chose to rise. If the birds were tempted to only occasionally sing, we would revel in their song. But we have grown accustomed to these things, so rarely do we notice them.

Perhaps we should be more thankful.

I know a man who is recovering from serious cancer. He is finally beginning to enjoy life. "I took everything for granted until I grew ill and old," he said. Pity. But there may be many more of us who are headed in the same direction.

Helen Keller once said something like this, "It would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days. They would be more appreciative of sight and the joy of sound."

We rarely think of our vision, hearing, and good health as blessings. I wonder why this is true?

I picked up a book in a Wichita bookstore. It was written by a woman named Barbara Ann Kipfer. As a teenager she began to make a list of things that she liked. She continued to list her favorite things for the next twenty years. Her many spiral-bound notebooks have been turned into the book 14,000 Things to be Happy About. Every person reading this could write his or her own book (and probably should). We certainly could add to her list.

These are difficult days for many people. Even so, as Thanksgiving Day 2019 approaches, let us all purpose in hearts to be grateful. Our God has been good to us.

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5.18).

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 471-847-2460.