What comes to your mind when you think about Thanksgiving?
Fall? Football? Turkey and stuffing? Pumpkin pie?
Most of us would agree that Thanksgiving is a bit more than this. So then what is it?
Spending time with family? Vague sentiments of gratitude?
I was forced to confront Thanksgiving as a holiday this year as never before. When temperature soar into the 90’s with no change in the bright green foliage, when the 5 turkeys for sale at the supermarket all cost around $70, when no one watches football, when pumpkin is an unheard of food, when it is impossible to spend time with family, when many have never even heard of the holiday, what does Thanksgiving really mean?
This is the question I faced and the point that God drove home to me this year: Thanksgiving has always been about giving thanks for divine help and guidance through the year. That is the core, and everything else is just the trimmings. To truly thank God, we do not have to eat traditional food, hang out with family, or even celebrate the day as a national holiday. We are simply called to trust God and give thanks in everything. If a verse could sum up what I learned this year, it would be 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Despite the lesson learned, our hearts were still hurting over being far from family. However, our good God gave us a wonderful time to share a Thanksgiving meal of chicken salad, mashed potatoes, cranberry bread, canned corn, rice, pumpkin pie and Coca-Cola with our host family. They joyously entered into the spirit of giving thanks with us – each person sharing with the others all the ways that God had blessed them in 2011. Praise be to God who always bears our burdens and comforts us in all our troubles! No matter where we are or who we’re with, may we never forget to give thanks to God.
“For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…I can do all things through him who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:11-13.
So what are you thankful for this year? If you didn’t give thanks on Thanksgiving, take a minute and do it now! As always, we love hearing your comments!