As I prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, it occurs to me that thanksgiving is something only human beings can do. The angels can praise God; they apparently do a lot of that. But can they sing songs of thanksgiving? I’m thinking that to say thanks, you have to have not had something and then gotten it. You have to have lost something and then found it.
Imagine that you are God and you’ve never heard the words “Thank you.” So one day, God created something from nothing and it sounded like a big bang, but it wasn’t a thank you. And so God waited -- for about a billion years. And finally, out of the heat, the first stars lit up. They were magnificent in their sparkling light in the darkness, but they couldn’t say thank you. And so God waited -- for about 3 billion years. And finally out of some dying stars, some more complex chemical elements were formed and planets came into being. They were more interesting than anything God had ever seen, but they couldn’t say thank you. And so God waited -- for another 4 billion years.
A star came into being that God called the Sun; a solar system of planets began to revolve around it. And one of those was a planet named Earth. For a billion years, Earth was a molten mass. Finally, as a crust began to form on the surface of the earth, a single-cell organism came into being. And it was fascinating, especially when it learned how to convert the light from the Sun into energy it could use. But it could not say thank you. And so God waited -- for another 3.5 billion years.
And finally that single cell became an organism, a collective, cooperative multi-celled organism. And then after another 100 million years, a vertebrate appeared. And 100 million years later, one of those took its first step on dry land. But none of these creatures could say “thank you.” And so God waited for hundreds of thousands of years. A human life was created. It took some time for those humans, formed as they were from the primordial muck, to understand their divine origins. But finally, one day it happened. A human being lifted up his voice and called out to the Creator “Thank you.” Don’t you know what a great day that was?
Heaven taught Earth how to sing alleluia. But Earth gives to heaven what it never had on its own, the sound of Thanksgiving.
Reflection Questions What is the one thing you can be grateful for that no one else in the universe can? What has been unique about your life experience?
How can you express to heaven a "thank you" that is worth taking note of?
How can you make Thanksgiving a year-round holiday - a daily expression of gratitude?