As I write, Thanksgiving is nearly here. I have loved Thanksgiving since I was very young. In my younger years, I lived in the southwest corner of Missouri, as did many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. We almost always had a big family event for the Thanksgiving celebration. We enjoyed a great feast of mostly home-grown foods, and scrumptious pies and cakes from scratch. Of course we cousins were outside enjoying freshly fallen snow and building multiple snowmen. My favorite female cousin, Dana, and I made it a yearly tradition to build a snowman together.
But, equally fun for me was when darkness began to bring us kids inside to sit on the floor and listen to the older folks tell their stories of how things used to be. These days, it will be strange perhaps for anyone to have a meaningful conversation in the midst of the many texting their conversations to those not present.
Also today, the sorrow of Thanksgiving is that it is overshadowed by the commercialism of Christmas, of which began in September this year. And, this year I know of several friends who have already put up a Christmas tree.
Thanksgiving is not about giving presents or decorating trees, but it’s about gathering with family and friends while simply giving yourself to one another in love and gratitude; more notably, it’s about giving thanks.
President George Washington established Thanksgiving on November 26, 1789, 157 years to the day before I was born. It started by the Pilgrims originally as a religious holiday. The first celebration lasted three days, as the Pilgrims and their Indian neighbors feasted together. They were grateful to God for their survival and the provision of what they considered a plentiful harvest. Yes, Thanksgiving is about giving of thanks to God for His many loving blessings of life.
Another sorrow of Thanksgiving may be that many persons, including many Christians, are hard pressed to think of anything they are thankful for when asked. If one reading this needs a little help thinking of something to be thankful for, let me share my motivations for the giving of thanks:
Jesus Christ. Jesus, in the incarnation, willingly left the glories of heaven and the praises of heaven’s angels and allowed Himself to be sheathed in the womb of a young virgin girl for nine months, for me. To me, that was the beginning of His life of sacrifice and sorrows. I am thankful for the incarnation!
Secondly, He laid aside all the prerogatives of being God to live life along side of and in the same struggles as we, His creation. In this, He loved the Father, and His creation, so much that he determined He would not allow Himself to sin in anyway. A sinless life was necessary to become the perfect sacrifice for mankind. He accomplished this by His surrendered will to the Father’s will. I am thankful for His sinless life!
But then, in the fullness of time, Jesus died a cruel, brutal, savage, bloody, hate-filled death for me so I could live for and with Him, now and always. Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified by those He had created from love. I am thankful for His sacrifice!
Glory of glories, Jesus rose from the grave alive! I am thankful for the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
The power that created all things by the Word of His mouth is the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead. This same power drew me to Him that I might receive the glorious gift of salvation. That power saved me, and sealed me with His Holy Spirit till I enter glory in heaven. I am thankful for my salvation!
Finally, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians. 4:16-17)
I am thankful for His coming again!
From the Bible:
“Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1)
“By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
I am aware that many experience hardships and depression during these times of the year for many varied reasons making it difficult to want to be thankful to God for anything. But, may I lovingly remind you that the Bible gives no exceptions when it says we are to be thankful in all things. No, life alone is not good. I am not thankful for all the struggles and sorrows I face in the life, but beloved, I am thankful for God, and if necessary, for Him alone because He is good!
It is my genuine hope and prayer for you, yes you, that you have a love-filled experience this Thanksgiving with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!