Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. Unfortunately, I’m too often like a cat living in a palace. Surrounded by beauty it focuses on the bird on a branch just outside the glass window. It places a padded paw on the pane as it craves the feathered food that’s just beyond its reach.
The good news is I can be thankful. And so this Thanksgiving, join me in thanking God for something we easily take for granted. In Psalm 139:14-15, David wrote:
“For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully
And wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”
How wonderfully did God make each part of our being and body? Consider the eye. In their book, In His Image, Paul Brand and Philip Yancey observed:
The complexity of perceptual cells beggars the imagination. In humans, 127,000,000 cells called rods and cones line up in rows as the ‘seeing’ elements that receive light and transmit messages to the brain. Rods, slender and graceful tentacles that each reach toward light, outnumber the bulbous cones, 120,000,000 to 7,000,000. These rod cells are so sensitive that the smallest measurable unit of light, one photon, can excite them. Under optimum conditions the human eye can detect a candle at a distance of fifteen miles. Yet with rods alone, we would see only shades of black and gray, and would not get the focal resolution allowed by the more complex cones. Our assortment of rods and cones lets us see objects at the ends of our noses and also stars light-years away.
Or consider the nose. Brand and Yancey noted:
Tiny olfactory receptors perform elaborate chemical tests on any stray molecules that float by. We can detect one garlic molecule in the waftage of fifty thousand other molecules … The nose is an organ of nostalgia. The smell of coffee, a whiff of a briny seashore, the faintest trace of a lingering perfume, or the esthetic order of a hospital corridor can stop you like a bullet.
This Thanksgiving I’m going to thank God for giving me eyes with which to see. And throughout the day I’m going to take notice of all the wonder I see in the world around me and give thanks. I’m going to thank him for color and texture and movement and faces and forms and food. And I’m going to give thanks for all I can smell. I’m going to thank him for the smell of my wife’s perfume, the freshness of rain, and coffee, and smoked turkey, and the wonderful aromas that will fill my home on Thanksgiving.
I refuse to be an ungrateful cat that focuses on what he can’t have. Instead, as a rescued child, I’ll thank God for his every goodness.
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