Say Yes to Thanksgiving Clichés!

By Tom Gilson Published on November 23, 2017

Sigh. Thanksgiving is the hardest day of the year for me as a writer. I want to say something original every time, but all the best things about Thanksgiving have already been said!

For example: Those of us who know and love Jesus Christ have spoken our thanks to him for His life lived for us, His death died for us, and His resurrected life restored for us. It’s been said a million times. What can I add to it?

Do you see the problem a poor writer like me runs into? It’s all been said already! 

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Maybe there’s something new this year, perhaps a child or grandchild has been born. In my case I have new thanks to say for my daughter’s marriage and my son’s engagement; also their good jobs and my wife’s new job. But so many things remain the same.

Rebelling Against the Rule

 This year, though, I’m rebelling. Not against the giving of thanks, but against the rule that says I have to do it in any original way. I’m saying yes to the clichés! I’ll let you listen in on a few of them:

It doesn’t need to be said in any flashy new way; in fact, I wouldn’t know how to do it if I tried.

I really, really do give thanks for God’s love and life through Jesus Christ.

I give thanks for a loving wife and great kids — including the son-in-law that’s joined our family earlier this year, and the soon-to-be daughter-in-law. I am so thankful — what more can I say?

I give thanks for a roof over our heads and food to eat.

I give thanks for the opportunity to share with you here on The Stream, and for the great team with whom I share this privilege.

I give thanks for God’s grace carrying me through six years of up-and-down disability — and for the life lessons I’ve learned through it.

I give thanks for my wonderful extended family.

I give thanks for all the colleagues, teachers, pastors, fellow church members and book authors through whom I’ve learned so much about life, truth and wisdom.

I give thanks for America: with all its glories and all its flaws, the greatest place to live on earth!

I give thanks that God has allowed me to live — and to make a difference — in such interesting and consequential times.

Just Saying Thanks

There’s so much more. It doesn’t need to be said in any flashy new way; in fact, I wouldn’t know how to do it if I tried. But I thank God for this, too: There’s no rule for the right way to say thanks. All that matters is that we speak it from the heart.

It’s kind of like Thanksgiving Day traditions. At our house it’s pretty much the same every year: our traditional Norwegian breakfast tea ring, the Macy’s parade, the preparing of the feast, the meal, the clean-up, the sighs that come from being stuffed, and then watching football. It goes pretty much the same even if we do the feasting part at another family member’s home. It’s predictable. Almost like a cliché.

Originality is good, but it’s not the only good. After all, tradition is part of what makes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving.

Yet it’s only a part of it. Giving thanks is the main thing. And if we’re giving thanks for the same things every year, well, thank God for that, too!

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