It’s only October, so I suppose it’s too early to put up the Thanksgiving tree, but I've half a mind to do it anyway. Today I’m feeling thankful enough to put several leaves on it. We had a nice weekend. We got to watch the football game with our friends, and the kids came, too, and brought our granddaughter. I got to preach, and it went well and I met some nice people, and I’m finally doing something I love so much that I would do it for free and yet I get paid for it. The family came together again (including the grandchild—twice in one weekend!) for dinner at my in-laws—good food AND I didn't have to cook it, and we got to see more of the family and sit a spell and talk awhile. And then my dad and stepmom called to tell me how much they liked my sermon, even though usually they just send their comments through email. Lots of reasons to be thankful this morning.
I talked about thankfulness in my sermon yesterday, and even used what I think is a challenging verse, “Give thanks in all circumstances” (IThes. 5:18). It’s challenging because of that little word “all.” It’s easier to be thankful on days like today when I’m feeling like all’s right with the world. And I’m reminded of the sermonette given by one of my CPE classmates in chapel this past summer. She said the key to keeping things in perspective is having an attitude of gratitude. I don’t think she mentioned Paul’s words, but there are plenty of other verses she could use in support of her premise.
Would Voltaire snidely say that I’m just being too optimistic and avoiding reality? Maybe he would. But today I don’t care. There has to be some room for just being thankful despite life’s difficulties. God IS good all the time, even if that is an overused truism. It doesn't mean everything’s perfect. But HE is perfect and, following my own advice from yesterday’s sermon, today I’m just much more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
 Note to self—Check out Robert Browning’s poem “Pippa Passes” and learn more about the origin of the oft-quoted phrase, “God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world.” Once an English major, always an English major.