I read Psalm 75 when I woke up this morning, and it felt surprisingly fresh and relevant for Thanksgiving Day 2021.
We thank you, O God!
We give thanks because you are near.
People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.
God says, “At the time I have planned,
I will bring justice against the wicked.
When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil,
I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.
“I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’
I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists!
Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens
or speak with such arrogance.’”
For no one on earth — from east or west,
or even from the wilderness —
should raise a defiant fist.
It is God alone who judges;
he decides who will rise and who will fall.
For the Lord holds a cup in his hand
that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices.
He pours out the wine in judgment,
and all the wicked must drink it,
draining it to the dregs.
But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked,
but I will increase the power of the godly.”
The last couple of years have often made me clench my fists. I’ve wanted to raise those fists in the air and challenge someone — anyone — to a fight. But the Thanksgiving holiday was a much-needed break from regular life, from the struggle, from the fight. And it was helpful to remember the blessings in my life. Especially the people in my life.
My father-in-law didn’t say much yesterday. His Alzheimer’s Disease limited him, pretty significantly. So it was interesting when he came out of his living room lair, out of his armchair, to say “Blessings to you.” It honestly felt like some kind of oracle.
When I relayed the anecdote to Marci, she clarified, “Oh, that’s just his way of saying he’s ready for you to leave!” Kind of an old-fashioned farewell. “Blessings for your journey,” or something like that. It was a little bit disappointing. But also hilarious.
Of course it’s good to count our blessings. It’s extremely beneficial to practice the spiritual discipline of giving thanks. But it’s also good to remember that these blessings are portable. They are most effective when pulled into everyday life and carried along with us on our journeys. So I’m going to try to keep giving thanks, even now that we’ve come to the end of another Thanksgiving holiday.