Will it be a true day of Thanksgiving in your home?
This November 22nd, Americans will be remembering Thanksgiving Day. For most, it’s a time for family to get together and share some traditional turkey dinner and have games and fun. Others are getting away from that traditional meaning. Some have nothing to do with it, as they have ascribed the cornucopia symbol and autumn festivals with ancient paganism. So if that’s what they believe, then I respect their opinion not to participate in it. But I believe the history behind the American annual Thanksgiving Day was rooted in fact, in a deep, deep appreciation for God helping the early Americans get through a very rough year.
Whatever the facts about “thanksgiving days” are, I do know this: it’s always a good thing to be thankful. And it’s always a good TIME to be thankful. Especially to our God and our Savior.
I saw a Facebook post that asked something like this: “what if you lost tomorrow, everything you didn’t express gratitude for in the last 3 days… what would disappear?” I pondered that seriously. Most days I do go for a stroll outside our home and whisper a sincere thank you to my God for my wife, my children, our home, the yard and plants and trees and flowers and butterflies. But my job is tough. I can go weeks without earning a dime, and weeks of good income – but have I thanked God that I can still earn a living, even as tough as it is?
What if everything for which we hadn’t declared recent thankful appreciation for -- just disappeared, what would be left? If you’re honest with yourself, you’d have to probably say an awful lot would disappear. Maybe even your children, wife, dad, mom, home, food, cars, health or even poor health if you’re alive, an income, a bed to sleep in, your pets, beautiful sunsets and marvelous clouds and rainbows – what would be left?
We certainly eat enough. My girth proves that. Have I thanked Him enough times beyond the perfunctory blessing over the meal – which indeed we still do before we eat. We help some orphan children in Kenya and after the Feast of Tabernacles, where some of us had helped pay for a wonderful meal, one of the orphans (Dennis) said this to me via email: “It was so special. There was plenty of meat. My favorite was chicken. I love chicken. And there was beef, and rice, and vegetables, so much to eat. All of us were so happy afterwards.” And here, we take it for granted. In much of the world – so many feel hunger most of the time.
So I remind you all: it’s not one of God’s holydays, but it’s a good day. Take time to truly be thankful, to express gratitude especially on that day in front of all who are there in your home. LEAD in this. In our home, we usually begin the Thanksgiving meal by asking each one to say something they are thankful for. Some are short. Some are funny. Some are very serious. But they’re all sincere and it puts the proper tone on the day.
God says to give thanks IN all things, and FOR all things (Philippians 4:6-7; Ephesians 5:20) and his peace comes upon us. That’s tough. Sometimes when we’re really hurting in our hearts or bodies, it’s really, really tough. But I find it reminds me that God is present in everything I do and go through. He is in every cell of my body by His spirit if you and I are filled by his holy spirit. He knows my joys – and my deep sorrows. He feels my aches and pains. He knows my joyful heart and my broken heart, which at times feels like it’s shattered into millions of little pieces. And so I can give thanks for -- and in-- the joyful heart and in the shattered heart.
Thanksgiving Day in our home is NOT a day of non-stop football on TV. We may play a little catch with the grandchildren in the backyard while waiting for dinner, but it’s about being with loved ones and remembering the true enduring values. That means our Father and Savior, that means my wife, that means our grandchildren, that means our guests and friends with us.
Nor do I demean the day by calling it “Turkey day”. No, it’s THANKSGIVING day, pe-leez.
Nor do I allow myself or our family to lose sight of the real meaning of the day by spending all day at sales going on. I’m really disappointed that so many big stores have taken to this. It demeans, minimizes and destroys this day in my opinion. KEEP this day a fun day, a day of thanksgiving, a day for God and family.
So this Thanksgiving Day – do give thanks. And remember the people and blessings you have been given. So much to be thankful for.