Ok, so I admit I suck at blogging.  I don’t think I’d have enough time even if I wasn’t in school to get achieve what I was hoping to accomplish on this blog.  That much introspection is just too daunting.  Besides, it doesn’t make sense to force profundity and I’m a firm believer in not writing anything that doesn’t deserve the immortality of written word.  But yes, one may disagree with me as to what exactly deserves that immortality — my definition is often quite broad!

Now most people around this time of year start asking that question, “What am I thankful for?”  And certainly that is a decent enough question; it is a fundamentally good thing to be thankful.  But it is also inescapably self-centered: invariably what we are thankful for generally consists of those things that benefit us.  And our nation has done an excellent job at supplanting pure and sincere thankfulness by creating Black Friday, a false capitalistic holiday to immediately follow Thanksgiving, assuming the guise of being others-centered.  “What?  I’m not being selfish.  I’m waking up at 2 a.m. to buy presents for other people.  How is that selfish?”

Well, the goal of such soporific asceticism is to save yourself some money in your attempt at materialistically proving to your loved ones that you care about them.  Yeah, I know, that’s a little harsh.  Let me be clear: I am not against buying presents as a way of showing love. And to all my friends who were out shopping this morning, I hope this doesn’t sound like a moral condemnation, I too was seriously considering camping out at Walmart to get my 32-in LCD TV for $250!!  It’s just that I have been increasingly concerned by the way we jump right from being conscientiously thankful one day, to relegating that pursuit to memory as we train our materialistic gaze upon December 25th.  So my question is this: if you can be conscientiously thankful one day out of the year, what things keep you from being conscientiously thankful the other 364 days?

I asked myself that question, because I realized I was just as guilty of it as I’m sure most of us are.  And here is what I came up with: fear, worry, uncertainty, pride, anger, discontent, cowardice, pain, fatigue, and gluttony (I’m sure the list could continue).  There is one thing that is common among all these things: idolatry.  Let me define “idolatry” as anything that illegitimately commands our obsessive gaze and worship.  It is an insidious thing, and often takes the form of innocuous and even admirable things.  Even serving others can be idolatrous if the motive is ill-directed.  It is profoundly a expression of the heart.  The only path to authentic thankfulness (and authentic existence) every day of my life is to daily allow the Lord to remain enthroned over my life.  Once I let other things take the throne, I open the floodgates to every seed of malcontent known to man.  Ironically, it is only by realizing my servitude that I can be thankful toward the One I serve.  It is not possible to have nothing on that throne.  It will either be the true Lord, or an impostor.  May the true Lord reign in your life and mine during this Advent season and every day of our lives.

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