God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Plenty to be Thankful For

(I've Got) Plenty to Be Thankful For
Irving Berlin
I've got plenty to be thankful for
I haven't got a great big yacht
To sail from shore to shore
Still I've got plenty to be thankful for
I've got plenty to be thankful for
No private car, no caviar
No carpet on my floor
Still I've got plenty to be thankful for
I've got eyes to see with
Ears to hear with
Arms to hug with
Lips to kiss with
Someone to adore
How could anybody ask for more?
My needs are small, I buy them all
At the five and ten cent store
Oh, I've got plenty to be thankful for

One of my favorite movies is HOLIDAY INN. In this movie Jim (Bing Crosby) decides to open an inn that will only be open on the holidays and on those holidays he will put on a musical show and dinner. So He buys an Inn in Connecticut and finds a beautiful girl, Linda to be the female lead. He begins creating shows for the holidays. During this year, Jim fall in love with Linda, but Jim’s old partner Ted (Fred Astaire) comes along and steals Linda away. So Jim is down in the dumps, feeling blue and has to write the Thanksgiving song. He writes a song (I’VE GOT) PLENTY TO BE THANKFUL FOR. Jim plays this song as he is being giving his Thanksgiving dinner. As a song about not having a lot of material rewards is sang, Jim interspersed comments about his true feelings: I’ve got plenty to be thankful for, (are you kidding); I’ve got eyes to see, (you need glasses); ears to hear, (a little flat to)... Jim is not really in the mood to give thanks. Life looks lonely for him. There are some of us in a similar boat this year. We are not looking forward to the holidays, because we will be alone with either no family close or unhealthy family dynamics that we hate getting caught up in. We aren’t feeling very thankful because we have lost a job, might be losing a job, are just barely hanging on from paycheck to paycheck. We are having trouble giving thanks because illness has struck ourselves or those we love. So how can we sing praise, be thankful when the world doesn’t always feel like a safe place.

One of the places I turn to when I am not sure I want to be thankful or am not feeling very thankful is the Psalms. They express every emotion you may be going through. When you are feeling down, like the world is against you the psalms of lament speak to you heart. The psalmists poor out their hearts about their illness, grief, enemies and cry to God for action. They cry to God to do something, to change the circumstances. Their hearts are poured out, wide open. You hear and feel all of the pain, hurt, anguish, and anger. And then there is a pause a break, a space in which God has time to work. In that space, the psalmist goes from pain to hope, from despair to possibility. In the movie, there is Jim in the pit; yet in comes his housekeeper, who tells him to pick himself up. The girl really loves you, go and get her.

At thanksgiving time we are meant to pause and look around, and find those places where we can be hopeful. We can stop for a moment and remember what there is to be thankful for. We can remember that God is there waiting to be with us in the midst of our trial. That today even, for just a moment we have plenty to be thankful for.

Psalm 40
11 Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.
12 For evils have encompassed me without number;
my iniquities have overtaken me, until I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me.
13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
14 Let all those be put to shame and confusion who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who desire my hurt.
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, "Aha, Aha!"
16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation say continually,
"Great is the Lord!"
17 As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God.

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