Wonderful things happen when we let light of Thanksgiving fall on our present circumstances. Thanksgiving counters the culture of complaint that greases so much interaction today. Sure, beefing about how bad things are is good for comic relief. But why make it a steady diet?

You either moan about slipping on the ice or give thanks it’s holding you up.
You can gripe about the sunburn or give thanks for the skin cream.
You can whine about rain on your picnic or give thanks it’s falling on your rose buds.
You can complain you never have enough time or give thanks your life is so full.

It all comes down to what you choose to look at today. Why wail about all the terrible things happening in the world when you can give thanks for “the grace that is reaching more and more people” this very moment? Why major in “satan’s Greatest Deceptions” when you can appreciate God’s clearest truths?

God creates with light. God uses the very act of thanksgiving to work good out of evil, redemption out of calamity. When our days are measured by complaints, we end up trying to create with dark. We just move the smudges around. There’s a reason scientists have been able to calculate the speed of light. It’s extraordinarily useful. Lasers repair corneas, play music, and encode messages. But what’s the speed of dark? Nobody knows because it’s not going anywhere. Giving thanks in all circumstances is a key part of walking “in the light as He is in the light.”

How we view other people’s differences makes a big difference. This is important because the people who irritate us the most often have the most to teach us. What they have too much of, we usually need more of.

We can complain about the blabbermouth next door,or give thanks that he can show us how to loosen up a bit.
We can talk trash about our lazy co-worker, or give thanks that she can help us be less driven and compulsive.
We can roll our eyes because of those irresponsible, unruly teenagers, or thank God for their energy and spontaneity.

Adapted from the book “Secrets of the Mustard Seed” by Steven Mosley, originally published by NavPress.