Q: We went to a lot of trouble to have some of our relatives stay with us this Christmas, and after all these weeks have gone by, not a one of them has bothered to thank us — no notes, no phone calls, nothing. Why are people so thoughtless? — W.J.R.
A: Yes, people can be thoughtless; they simply don’t stop to think about the trouble someone has taken to help them or be nice to them. Perhaps their parents didn’t teach them to express gratitude for what others do for them. And unfortunately some people are not only thoughtless but also ungrateful, regardless of what people do for them.
This isn’t a new problem, however. Do you remember the encounter Jesus had with 10 lepers? (You can read it in Luke 17:11-19.) In those days leprosy was a dreaded and hopeless disease, but these 10 men cried out, asking Jesus to heal them. Jesus responded and healed all 10 of them, but only one returned to thank him. Are people any different today? I doubt it.
Don’t conclude that your relatives didn’t enjoy themselves or didn’t appreciate their time together, even if they haven’t told you. Nor should you be unappreciative of the efforts they made to be together. Perhaps you can send each family a courteous note thanking them for making this a special Christmas for you.
Regardless of what your relatives do (or fail to do), make thankfulness part of your life every day — thankfulness to others and especially thankfulness to God. Remember: He gave us the greatest gift we could ever receive: the gift of his own Son. The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.