Using your imagination, come with me to a Bizarro World where everything is the opposite of how it is in our world. In this Bizarro World, left is right and right is left; up is down and down is up; the Spurs have won one championship and the Mavericks have won five. (Go Mavs Go!)
In this Bizarro World of opposites, today is National Unthankfulness Day. It’s a time for families to get together … and be grouchy, complain, and focus on everything they don’t like about life.
On this imaginary backward planet, Unthankfulness Day is all about entitlement. Residents are deeply resentful when things don’t go their way. They expect everything to work out to their advantage as a natural right. They’ve never heard the Bible verse that says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17)
Unthankfulness Day is a time to focus on what you don’t have. The holiday is the perfect opportunity to make a mental list of everything your friends or co-workers have that you lack. Few things make us as grumpy as the comparison game – in particular, comparing others’ strengths to our weaknesses. On Unthankfulness Day, the reading of Philippians 4 is forbidden, especially the part that says, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. ” (Philippians 4:11)
On Unthankfulness Day, what brings people together is a shared affinity for negativity. Criticism and gossip make the day as wonderfully toxic as possible. On this day, residents of Bizarro World would never heed the words of Psalm 66, telling us to “make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.” (Psalm 66:1)
And most of all, on Unthankfulness Day no one dares to mention the Good News of salvation in Jesus. That would totally spoil the mood of the whole day!
OK… Out of Bizarro World and back to the real world. It’s a good thing we don’t have National Unthankfulness Day!
Or do we?
Depending on our mindset, any day can be Unthankfulness Day. Any of us can fall into the trap of entitlement, thinking we deserve good things and becoming angry when we don’t get what we want. We can be jealous of what others have, whether possessions or abilities or “good fortune.” Our mouths can be fountains of criticism. And we can lose sight of God’s love for us in Jesus. All of these things are sources of unthankfulness.
What a blessing that we have a day devoted to being thankful! Studies show that thankful people are healthier and happier people. You and I can tell the difference in our own lives. When we feel grateful, and when we express our gratitude, life is so much more fulfilling.
All of us have an abundance of reasons to express gratitude to God today. For family and friends. For food, shelter, and clothing. For modern technology. For health. For doctors and medicine. For transportation. For our church. For our nation. For creation. For each breath. And most important, for the gift of eternal life in Jesus.
Here’s a practical idea for Thanksgiving Day: Think about the blessings God has given you, and let your face show your gratitude. Smile! Proverbs 15:13: “A glad heart makes a cheerful face.” Just as grouchiness spreads, cheerfulness is contagious. Let people see your thankfulness.
Most of the time we don’t pay attention to our facial expressions. But the person sitting across from you does! So, how about positively influencing the mood in the room by smiling? Not an awkward, forced smile. Just a conscious effort to set the tone with an upbeat spirit.