As we approach the holiday seasons, we are already feeling the weight of the stress and nostalgia over loved ones who will not be around for the holidays because they are no longer with us. There will be newly divorced spouses who will not have their family together in the same way for this holiday season, and there are others who will be spending the holidays behind prison bars. The holidays are jolly, but they are extremely difficult for many people. To defeat depression and the blues during the holiday season, the best weapon we have is to be grateful—and count our blessings. We often focus on what we don’t have, our hurt and pain, rather than what we do have and the places where we are healed. What frustrates us as believers is not that God cannot do something or make something happen in our lives, because we know that God is all powerful. God can do anything. God is able. We fall apart when God does not exercise his power in the way that we would like God to do it. This leads to an attitude of ungratefulness.
In spite of what God has allowed or chosen not to do, God is still active in our lives in very positive ways. During this season, let us focus on what God has done, rather than what God chose not to do. In this way, we are grateful. Thanksgiving is a great time for us to reflect on the many reasons why we have to be thankful and grateful.
We all remember the story of the 10 lepers. They were isolated from the community because of their leprosy. Jesus, in spite of this isolation, involves himself with this group of lepers. This shows the character of Jesus involving himself with people whom others have left behind, ostracized, and forgotten. He cares about each of us; he is compassionate. Although our problems sometimes make us feel alone, we can count on Jesus Christ to ‘check on’ about us.
The interesting fact about this group of lepers is that nine of them were Jewish, and one was a Samaritan. Jesus is interested in our humanity, our problems, our need for healing, and our desperation for companionship. There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’ with Jesus Christ. We all need to thank the Lord for that, especially since we live in a world that makes distinctions on class, race, gender, and other characteristics. They beg Jesus to heal them, and he orders them to see the priest. As they go, their leprosy disappears. When the Samaritan realizes what happened to him, he returns to Jesus, thanking him and giving praise with a loud voice. Then, Jesus makes this inquiry: “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:17-18. Then, Jesus says to him: “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (v19). The thankful man, on his knees is shouting and thanking Jesus for what he had done for him.
How many of us have experienced a miracle in our lives, and did not even bother to give thanks? Many of us walk around as if Jesus has done nothing for us. We must imitate the Samaritan man, and be grateful for what Jesus has done in our lives. We cannot give thanks to anyone for wholeness, cleansing, and deliverance, except Jesus Christ. When we walk around with an attitude of thanksgiving, thinking on the goodness of the Lord and all the things he has done for us—our souls will cry out with praise. Thank you, Lord!