I’m sometimes like a cat living in a palace. Surrounded by beauty it gazes at the bird sitting on a branch outside the window. It places a padded paw on the pane and craves the feathered food it can’t reach.
I will not do that on Thanksgiving. Instead, this year I’ll thank God for something I often overlook. 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.”
God wonderfully created each part of our being and body. Consider the eye. In their book In His Image, Paul Brand and Philip Yancey observe: “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 continue, “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’ll thank God for creating my eyes. Throughout the day I’ll notice the wonder around me. And I’ll give thanks. I’ll thank God for color and texture and movement and faces and forms and food. I’ll thank him for the fragrance of my wife’s perfume, the freshness of rain, and coffee, and smoked turkey, and each aroma that fills my home on Thanksgiving.
This Thanksgiving I refuse to be an ungrateful cat that focuses on what he can’t have. Instead, I’ll thank God for his every goodness.