I’m thankful it’s called Thanksgiving and not thanksfeeling.
To be clear: I do often feel thankful.
But I’ve latched onto something from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV), which says to “give thanks in all circumstances.”
It does not say “be thankful about all circumstances.”
“Thankful” is an adjective. To “be thankful,” to me, requires a certain manipulation of my feelings about circumstances so that “thankful” is how I would describe myself in relation to them.
Sometimes, this is no trick at all.
Other times, though (this year, for many, comes to mind), to “be thankful” feels fake at best.
“Give thanks” is another matter entirely.
To give is action, decision, will. To give is to offer, release, put forth.
“Thanks” conveys expressions of gratitude, appreciation, and awareness of blessings which may or may not be obvious.
And “in” all circumstances gives us an out from having to give thanks FOR all circumstances.
In joy, sorrow, wanting, grieving, mourning, dancing, famine, feast, and “all” the other circumstances of life on this earth, we do not have to figure out how to make “thankful” our state of being in regard to them. We do not have to try to summon up some emotion we’d describe as “thankful” about them. But we are charged with the task of choosing to give thanks not necessarily *for* but *in* all circumstances.
“In”—as in, “in all circumstances”—is a little word with big implications. It tells us where we are supposed to do our thanking.
Right “in” the thick of them.
IN the joy.
IN the sorrow.
IN the wanting.
IN the having.
IN the grieving.
IN the dancing.
IN the famine.
IN the feast.
IN all circumstances, GIVE thanks.
Feeling or no, that I can do.