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G.K. Chesterton on giving thanks:

“We thank people for birthday presents of cigars and slippers. Can I thank no one for the birthday present of birth?”

“Briefly, any person, in any position, is a beggar who has nothing but thanks to give for a service.”

“The ideal of gratitude should not change: for gratitude is the first virtue of living things, first with dogs and with saints.”

“Happy is he who not only knows the causes of things, but who has not lost touch with their beginnings. Happy is he who still loves something that he loved in the nursery: he has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and has saved not only his soul but his life.”

“I can count a fair list of things I have always desired and still desire – sword-blades, the coloured angels of religious art, a kind of cake called jumbles, Grimm’s Fairy Tales and a shilling paint-box. Some of these things I confess thankfully that I now have (though jumbles have died with a decaying civilisation), but I am more thankful still that the desire in these cases remains. For this is a great gift from God, to have things and still to desire them.”

“Even the pessimist when he thinks, if he ever does, must realise that he has something to be thankful for: he owes something to the world, as Robinson Crusoe did to the ship. You may regard the universe as a wreck: but at least you have saved something from the wreck.”

“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank.”

Andrew Peterson: “Don’t You Want to Thank Someone?” (Listen to a sample below. Buy here.)

Don’t You Want to Thank Someone

Can’t you feel it in your bones
Something isn’t right here
Something that you’ve always known
But you don’t know why

‘Cause every time the sun goes down
We face another night here
Waiting for the world to spin around
Just to survive

But when you see the morning sun
Burning through a silver mist
Don’t you want to thank someone?
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?

Don’t you ever wonder why
In spite of all that’s wrong here
There’s still so much that goes so right
And beauty abounds?

‘Cause sometimes when you walk outside
The air is full of song here
The thunder rolls and the baby sighs
And the rain comes down

And when you see the spring has come
And it warms you like a mother’s kiss
Don’t you want to thank someone?
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?

I used to be a little boy
As golden as a sunrise
Breaking over Illinois
When the corn was tall

Yeah, but every little boy grows up
And he’s haunted by the heart that died
Longing for the world that was
Before the Fall

Oh, but then forgiveness comes
A grace that I cannot resist
And I just want to thank someone
I just want to thank someone for this

Now I can see the world is charged
It’s glimmering with promises
Written in a script of stars
Dripping from prophets’ lips

But still, my thirst is never slaked
I am hounded by a restlessness
Eaten by this endless ache
But still I will give thanks for this

‘Cause I can see it in the seas of wheat
I can feel it when the horses run
It’s howling in the snowy peaks
It’s blazing in the midnight sun

Just behind a veil of wind
A million angels waiting in the wings
A swirling storm of cherubim
Making ready for the Reckoning

Oh, how long, how long?
Oh, sing on, sing on

And when the world is new again
And the children of the King
Are ancient in their youth again
Maybe it’s a better thing
A better thing

To be more than merely innocent
But to be broken then redeemed by love
Maybe this old world is bent
But it’s waking up
And I’m waking up

‘Cause I can hear the voice of one
He’s crying in the wilderness
“Make ready for the Kingdom Come”
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?


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4 thoughts on “G.K. Chesterton and Andrew Peterson on Giving Thanks”

  1. Phil says:

    Isn’t there a necessary flip side to this post?

    If there is someone to thank (when things go “right”), isn’t there someone to blame (when things go “wrong”)?

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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