Sam was a Wise Man
Once, there was a ring. A ring which caused pain and hurt and death. A ring which led a few scruffy hobbits to a long path of orcs, elves, fire, darkness, death and a whole lot of other things which I’m sure nobody wishes for me to recount. Then after all that, these hobbits won out. After all the pain, they reached the end. As Sam put it,”It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do underst
and, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.” Sam was a wise man. He knew more then anybody that you can’t have light unless the darkness comes first. Without Frodo’s journey, the ring never would have been destroyed. Without the danger, victory was impossible. We can be thankful for the good because we understand how much it cost. That is what we hold on to.
That’s one of the most over-asked and least understood subjects in the English language. Sam would know. Every little kid has their own go-to answer. What are you thankful for?…my family…church…Jesus dying on the cross. Always the same answer. Largely the same indifference. We know the right answer like the back of our hand. It’s only the ones who’ve gotten pushed around by life and perhaps glimpsed the dusky cloak of death around the next corner that understand its meaning. Thankfulness, that attribute advertised on every street window around this time of year, is far bigger then much of the world can ever know. To most, thankfulness is just a form of gratitude for the stuff that is wrapped in pretty bows and some nice gestures. We live by a mantra which calls us to ‘be thankful at all times…or at least when things go right.’ When asked the question, we answer things like raspberries, Christmas, snow, and falling leaves. I would instead call you to answer with paper cuts, crying children, a rusty nail, or even maybe the dried tears on your pillow. I Thessalonians 5:18 calls us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We have been put in a world which is certainly full of snowflakes, cocoa, and books, but we also live in a world of bruised knees, flat tires, and death. When we thank Christ for our redemption, we cannot simply be thankful for the resurrection and Easter for before that joy came his necessary death. I would say God demands us to be thankful not only for the stone rolled away from the grave but also that spear in Christ’s side, the tears on his face, the sour wine dripping from his lips, and the cold nails biting into his raw skin. Without that suffering, no salvation could have ever happened. Only the people who understand that can truly be thankful for sunrise the next morning.
So the next time the question is popped or perhaps when the scent of turkey passes by, remember all the good things in your life, all the blessings in your life, but also look back to your trials, your tears, and your pain. For they are the things which make beauty and joy even more beautiful. They are the things that cause hope. Without sin, we would never have known God’s grace. Without the cross, there could never have been an empty grave.
What are you thankful for? Let us know down in the comments or tweet us @shineforhimsite