Thanks A Lot I Guess

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)

There’s this book called 1001 Things to be Thankful For, which is impressive to me since, even on a good day, I could probably only come up with maybe seven or eight. Well, four or five anyway. Okay, maybe only two or three, but who’s counting?

This whole annual thanksgiving thing isn’t usually much of a problem, mostly because, after the required prayer before the big meal, nobody really cares for the rest of the day. They’re too busy eating, or watching football, or washing dishes to give the gratitude thing much thought. This is a good thing overall, otherwise Thanksgiving would turn into some lame religious event that nobody would look forward to.

But leave it to the Apostle Paul to screw things up. (Yet another reason to avoid reading the Bible, as if there weren’t enough reasons already.) He’s got a really weird idea about giving thanks. He started out fine enough when he wrote to the Thessalonians: “Give thanks in everything.” Now, though I think he’s a little touched here too, I suppose I can see how a person could be thankful “in” all circumstances. The idea, I guess, is that you can be thankful in spite of any crappy situation you find yourself in, probably by focusing on other things which aren’t quite as crappy. In this case, it seems to me, thankfulness is just another word for nothing left to lose.

If Paul had stopped there, he’d only be guilty of minor dysfunction; but leave it to Mr. Apostle to much the concept to the brink, shove it over the edge, and let it plummet into the valley of psychosis. He now offers to the Ephesians this interesting little directive: “Give thanks FOR everything.” With the change of one tiny preposition Paul kicks personal gratitude into the end zone. You’d think that a guy who had been lashed five times, beaten with rods three times, shipwrecked three times, floated for a couple of days in the open sea, stoned, and was in danger pretty much from the time he got up in the mornings—you’d think that a guy like that would have a better grasp on reality. Maybe the stoning did some lasting damage.

So now it’s not good enough to give thanks in everything? Now we’re supposed to give thanks for everything? Well, whoop-de-doo. I guess Paul actually enjoyed getting his butt kicked. Sheesh. What a great way to turn an otherwise pleasant holiday into a schizoid episode. There’s nothing like a little dissociation to go with your turkey. Still, to honor the Pilgrims, I’ll give it a shot and start the ball rolling by being thankful for a few things that I don’t normally give thanks for:

Thank you, God, for bunions.

Thank you, God, for boogers.

Thank you, God, for medical bills.

Thank you, God, for moss on my roof.

Thank you, God, for celery.

Thank you, God, for potholes.

Thank you, God, for ringworm.

Thank you, God, for rap music.

Thank you, God, for constipation.

Thank you, God, for general ineptitude.

Thank you, God, for Christmas before Thanksgiving.

Thank you, God, for perky people.

Thank you, God, for dog poop on my lawn.

Thank you, God, for the smell in the men’s locker room.

Thank you, God, for zits.

Thank you, God, for swine flu.

Thank you, God, for people who think they know better than me.

Thank you, God, for everything that gives me a headache.

Amen.

Okay, now for the real festivities.

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