It is incredible that an entire nation would set aside a day to "give thanks." A thought that has stuck in my mind lately is the idea that if we approach life from a perspective of victory rather than defeat, what a difference it would make. I first encountered this thought when someone framed the recent election and its effect on racism with that idea. He said that if we compare it to Joshua and the Israelites, even when they occupied the land promised by God, they'd experienced the victory, but it did not mean that hardship was over and more work needed to be done. We've elected a president of African descent, racism isn't over and done, but we approach it now from the other side.
Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome this world. That is what I am thankful for. And with a thankful heart, we are freed from trying to win the game and commissioned to play with dignity and honor. Imagine a football team leading 49-0 in the fourth quarter. They still play to win, but they play now for the fun of the game. A classy team will begin to bring out the best in their opponent, but imagine the coach of this team getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct for arguing a close call. What kind of jerk would do that while winning by 7 touchdowns.
I'm thankful that our victory is won and that I can be freed to play just for the joy of life. It would be unsportsmanlike to just sit back and let things happen as they may, but I don't have to get caught up in the little frustrations the world sets in my path. I can simply take them and move on, all the while trying to bring out the best in those who oppose me.
Truly understanding thankfulness gives us the perspective to live life from the vantage point of victors. Respectful and honoring, but victors nonetheless, inviting all to join in this joy.