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We’re all about to be very thankful people according, politely, to Western traditions and patterns. Thursday is Thanksgiving. And my family, they’re good people. Most anyone would say so. And they’ll truly be thankful tomorrow; they will. When we’re sitting around card tables smashed together and hidden under fall-colored tablecloths, passing the gravy boat, they’ll really be thankful.

Grandpa is the biggest proponent of the toasts or monologues of thanks that tend to circle up and appear around the holidays. He’s always thankful for family, thankful for health, we all say Here’s to a good future.

I realized, in studying the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi with my community last night, that our thanks—don’t worry, I won’t put it lightly—is a big, fat, waste of time. It’s piles of broken and often empty words that sit, rotting, not unlike the way we throw our garbage in toxic piles in other countries. Thankful, thankful, thankful, we say. To whom?, I am now wondering.

If words of thanks just tickle the ears of others, or fulfill the should-be’s on this particular holiday, we may as well skip the toasts and the once-a-year prayers. I don’t reckon it pleases God and, frankly, the mechanism and ritual of it is quite frustrating for the likes of me.

Don’t get me wrong, I give thanks, and tomorrow with be no different. I give thanks, though, to my God, the author and perfector of my faith, the Savior of the world, the Creator of mankind. A recipient for our thanks gives meaning, relevance, worth.  Without, your thanks are vapors, disappearing like steam in this November chill.