The development of every language has certain phrases which gradually drift from the original intended meaning of the phrase. For example, many of the phrases for saying, “goodbye” all have slightly different meanings. “So long!” “Farewell” “See ‘ya later!” “Bye!” Interestingly enough, I don’t think we really think of the nuances of each term when we say it. The same goes for “Thank God!” If something happens that could have gone really bad, we often express ourselves with “Thank God!” “Whew” or “Thank heavens!” But do we really mean that when we say it? So much of our lives are spent saying things and doing things without really thinking about what’s actually being said, or what’s actually happening.
The world watched with awe and wonder when 33 Chilean miners were rescued from a mine almost a half-mile under the ground after being trapped 68 days. In years past, such an accident would have resulted in death for the miners, even if they had survived the initial collapse. This time, there have been plenty of “Thank God” moments: when the miners were discovered alive, when we learned that all 33 were alive, when we saw their smiling faces one after another emerging from the ground. Thank God! Many of the miners did just that… they thanked God. For 33 miners that day and for their families, the phrase “Thank God” had a whole new meaning… or maybe just the old one coming back to pay a visit.
A Beautiful Prayer
Martin Luther knew how to say “Thank God” in a way that truly did just that, thanking God. He wrote a simple, beautiful prayer for the morning that I just want to print here for you.
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Luther knew that we don’t wake up in the morning without God opening our eyes. Thank God! We don’t make it through another day without God keeping us safe. Thank God! We don’t get to love family or feel the cool of autumn or eat a nourishing meal without God providing those things. Thank God!
Perhaps we shouldn’t call it that anymore. It’s really “Christmas Shopping Eve.” That is, unless we really “Thank God!“ The temptation in our culture is to take Thanksgiving Day and say, “Thank God! Gimme more!” Let’s leave that last part off this year and see how we do. Let’s see the light of day again like those miners and have a new appreciation for what God gives every day. Let’s truly give God the thanks for our lives and loves and, while we’re at it, leave the next holiday as the birthday party that it is. Thank God!
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17