Life is war. It is not only that, but it is that. In a world where many things attempt by force or by fraud to enslave us, giving thanks disarms the power thereof. By acknowledging the Creator as the source of all things we triangulate reality correctly–the Giver, the Gift, and the Receiver– and thereby assume the high ground of the warfare. From here we may successfully combat the things that would seduce, deceive, manipulate or bully us into stuckage and slavery. We remain free.
But it is a war to do so, a war of a thousand choices. For every craving, for every fear, for every aspiration, there is an object of worship set up to woo our hearts. “Choose me, and I will save you,” each one says. “I will meet the need for power, hope, and healing. I will comfort and fulfill.” But the scripture says:
“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise.” (Psalm 138:1 ESV)
While living in the midst of a world crowded with competitors for our affections and our faith, we give ourselves wholeheartedly to one: the Creator, and not the purveyors and bargainers of the created order. By doing this we appropriate back to the Creator what belongs to Him. For Evil cannot create; it can only rob, dismember, and sew together frauds. Thankfulness slices through the curtain. As priests in Christ, we articulate the reality that all things come from Him and belong to Him, the Author of Self-giving Love. All things are a love gift from Him. And not even Evil and its network of Pride and Unbelief known as the World can eclipse that truth.
By giving thanks, we slice through the veil of delays and disappointments. We break open heaven again into our sphere, and, with the way re-established, clear communication resumes. Hope revives as we wait for the promises of our Father to come to pass. Thanksgiving perceives that beneath the current conquest of the Bad and the Wrong, beneath the current war of our own human nature (our worst enemy), there is a relentless commitment to blessing and abundant life from our Father that parallels an integration into wholehearted community–a return to Eden, from which the trajectory of God With Us from Wilderness to Wonderful Garden-City can take place. Thanksgiving cuts through the dark conclusions of the immediate–conclusions based on the assumption that we cannot trust Him, that “it is up to us,” etc.–and places once again at the center His promises, not our power (or lack thereof). The smoke clears. We see the battle flag of our captain. And though we remain in the valley of desperate combat, we see the coming King. We welcome Him from a distance. Then nothing can truly harm us. We may lose the earthly fight, but our spirits, our souls, attain a joy free of fear and full of Him. The King calls us sons and friends.