To whom we should all give thanks

Giving thanks is a lost art form in contemporary Western society, which is pretty pathetic given the blessings bestowed upon this great nation.

There’s a lot of griping going on all over the place (especially in Tuesday’s columns), but there’s not a whole lot of joy and peace flying around between these two pages. That’s cool, though. Opinion pages should be frank, even warlike. It’s a refreshing change from the politically correct cocoon touchy-feely types would like us all to live in.

But I digress—what about Thanksgiving? We’ve got it pretty damn good here in this country. If things were worse, columnists wouldn’t have the time or freedom to debate the merits or flaws of multiculturalism, religion, gun control, etc.

Besides the obvious wealth and rights we all share, there are so many people to be grateful for in our lives.

Our friends we should certainly be grateful for, and I am. Friends I’ve met here at school, Christians and to my surprise non-Christians, have had a lot of influence in my life.

My family, my parents and sisters, particularly I owe a lot of thanks (and money) to. They stuck by me as a drunk for many years. They even accept me now as a Bible-slinging, Jesus freak. They’re not exactly thrilled, but I don’t feel particularly persecuted so to speak.

Yes, I concede that I’m even grateful for my professors and some administrators around here, although admittedly some more than others. Regardless of the fact that I think there are some folks who are politically and morally misguided, I feel pretty comfortable saying that the vast majority of these individuals serve the NIU community with personal integrity.

I’m especially grateful to the people I work with. They put up with a lot of my annoying habits, sarcasm, screaming, spouting Bible verses and playing dad to half of the women in the newsroom. They are without a doubt some of the most interesting, hardworking and intelligent people I’ve met.

I’d consider myself lucky, but I don’t believe in luck. As anyone who’s ever had the misfortune of reading my columns would know, I believe in God.

I don’t know why this is such a hard pill to swallow. Who created all of these people I’ve come to know? Where do all human talents and opportunities come from? Where did the ability to breathe, laugh, study or read this very column come from?

It came from the Creator. Whom do we have to thank most of all for anything we consider ourselves lucky to have? God.

It’s not luck, man. It’s a divinely inspired universe. Once we begin to fully grasp this, we can become grateful for even the pain and troubles in the world, even in our own lives. That’s tougher, though. It takes a lot of faith, and I’m still learning, but’s it’s true nonetheless.

God is in complete control of every aspect of the universe, although He has the grace to allow us to choose our own course, even if it leads to destruction. It’s up to us to use all God has given us, for good or evil.

The first chapter of the book of Romans talks about a world where God has made Himself apparent, even obvious. It says that everyone knows God to a much greater extent than they care to admit, but these same people refuse to glorify God or give Him thanks for what He has done.

We constantly pat ourselves on the back for human inventions, and ironically scientists go berserk whenever they can create something that works remotely as well as natural things that work quite well without our help or double A batteries. Romans also says men worship these created things, even God-created things, rather than the Creator himself.

Sir Isaac Newton said that in the absence of all proof of God’s existence, the human thumb would suffice, but he did not worship his thumb. He worshiped God.

As much as it might pain us to do so, let’s give a little credit to the one who really deserves it this Thanksgiving.