From the editor: November 28, 2014
Thanks for the Gift
The Apostle Paul seemed to have thought that giving thanks was front and center in the life of the Christian:
Give thanks in all things (1 Tim. 5:18)
...always and for everything giving thanks (Eph.5:20)
in everything by prayer...with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6)
And be thankful. ...with thankfulness in your heart toward God. ...do everything...giving thanks to God the Father (Col. 3:13-17)
Continue steadfastly in prayer, with thanksgiving (Col. 4:2)
Near the end of Jacques Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence he describes the 20th c. "self" after 5 centuries of seeking more and more emancipation from constraints. We think of our "selves" today as something we "find," and not by looking to the past or anything absolute, but as if discovering it within our autonomous, emancipated egos. We think we invent ourselves almost from scratch.
Few modern artistic expressions rejoice in the simple fact of life. Many artists and citizens are driven by anxieties or identity crises to self-destructive behavior, chemical dependence, sexual libertinism and other mad dashes to break through one last barrier keeping them from "self fulfillment." We are an age obsessed with "self," yet at a loss to even say what a human self is, let alone what it is to find one self--other than "to be able to do what I feel" or other hollow platitudes that merely echo our own voices and reflect back our hallowed "choices."
The true Emancipation from the dog-chasing-its-own-tail while looking for a self comes from accepting and confessing life as a Gift. And giving thanks, accordingly, for that Gift. If you keep thinking of your life—which is utterly unique in the entire universe!--as a true gift, you will draw nearer to the Giver of that gift.
So, Happy Thanksgiving!
Yours for Christ, Creed & Culture,
—James M. Kushiner
Executive Director, The Fellowship of St. James