Every town has the annoying messenger of cheer.

This is the lady, it is almost always a lady, who will come to you with your broken arm and point out that you could have broken both your arms. If your town is unlucky enough to experience this lady in her born-again form, then she will remind you that “all things work together for good” as you try to itch the scratch under your cast.

Those who think hell will be Vegas had better consider that it is more likely to consist of cheerful folk telling you that the flames could be hotter, that you look good in red light, and that sulphar covers up the smell of burning flesh quite effectively.

In these troubled times, I shan’t urge you to cheer up. Why should we be happy that the government is devaluing the dollar, we are well on our way to blowing a win in the War on Terror, and that Brett Favre plays for the Vikings?

Nay, we should weep with those who weep and not try to spread a false cheer. Facts are after all facts. But even the most Gradgrind amongst us can be encouraged by certain facts.

Both arms are, after all, not broken and Keith Olbermann is almost surely not your father. You will not watch MSNBC today. There are goods even in a fallen world. Here is a list of ten things for which most of us can be thankful here in the United States:

First, you are fat, but we live in a time when this a possible middle class problem.

Second, your retirement accounts and housing have taken major hits, but you don’t own GM stock.

Third, President Obama has three years left in his term, but either you did not vote for him or you can pretend that you did not.

Fourth, Joel Osteen will preach this weekend, but you will not hear him.

Fifth, New Moon is the number one film in America, but you will not see it.

Sixth, Richard Dawkins is philosophically incompetent, but Richard Swinburne isn’t.

Seventh, nobody reads any more, but that means your libraries copies of Trollope are easily available for you.

Eighth, the H1N1 virus rages, but you don’t have it and will not get it.

Ninth, dinosaurs are extinct, but dogs are not.

Tenth, PETA exists, but this leaves more turducken for us.
I hope this list leaves you feeling thankful.

To my Calvinist friends, you have no choice about it, but be thankful even though it isn’t really you doing it.

To my Wesleyan friends, choose to be thankful, but make sure you really, really mean it and are not just pretending or it will be useless to you.

To my Pentecostal friends, cast out the demon of ingratitude and thank God in several languages.

to my emergent friend thank god you can burn a candle read poetry while thinking of the sudan tomorrow

To my post-Evangelical friends, thank God you are not as we f-n are.

To my Southern Baptist friends, thank God you both Southern and Baptist and that He is as well.

To my Catholic friends, thank God that you have Mother Angelica and not Benny Hinn.

To my fellow Orthodox, thank God for Bishop Jonah if he is in your jurisdiction and confess the sin of envy if he is not.

To my friends here at Evangel, be thankful that Frank Turk never met Joe Carter in a WWF cage match.

Articles by John Mark Reynolds

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