Gratitude, acknowledging God's goodness and His love for each of us, brings light into all our days.

Thanksgiving time in the United States is a unique period. Visitors to the U.S. are often touched by the quiet but heartfelt gratitude expressed openly at this time. Many of them wish their own country had a similar event. It is not a commercial occasion; present-giving is generally not a feature; the glitz of consumerism does not touch it; children are not overindulged. Many families celebrate with a special meal as the country pauses to give God thanks for good received.

The deeper spiritual implications of thanksgiving may be found in the Scriptures. There were two occasions in the Bible that I like to think of, when Jesus gave thanks. In both cases, from a human point of view, there seemed to be little to give thanks for.

One was when there was an enormous crowd of people, about five thousand men and an unknown number of women and children, who had come to hear Christ Jesus preach. As the day wore on, they became hungry, but all that the disciples could find was a few loaves and a couple of small fish (see John 6:1—14). And it was in this almost impossible situation that Jesus gave thanks to God. His thought was not negative but affirmative—filled with gratitude for what he had. Over five thousand people benefited abundantly from his act of thanksgiving. John's Gospel says that they "filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten" (6:13).

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In next week's Sentinel—
November 22, 1993

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