Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday but that wasn’t always true. As a child I found sitting at the table for an eternity totally unbearable. I’d sit and squirm while carving shapes into my cranberry sauce. O.K. I’ll admit that the never-ending mashed potato bowl was a highlight, but even I have a potato limit. I didn’t understand what true thanksgiving was. A concept like that is hard for a me-centered child to understand. I confused the verb “Thanksgiving” with the noun. When I became a Christian many moons ago I saw Thanksgiving differently. I had so very much to be thankful for that one day of celebration, a year, seemed inadequate.
The reason I prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas is that you get the joys, fun and warm fuzzy's of Christmas without all the nonsense. Don’t get me wrong I like to give and receive gifts and sing carols and drink eggnog and eat Turkey just like you do. I just like the “crawl up into Grampa’s lap” feeling that Thanksgiving brings. I still remember the year that my fractured family gathered around a covered ping pong table. As we spoke a prayer of sorts it started snowing. I ran to the window and gazed at the beauty outside. I had breathed a prayer to the God I did not believe in asking for a sign that He was real. That snow changed the whole day for me and put a tiny seed of hope in my tough little heart. It would take many more years for me to really believe.
I have noticed in the past few years that Thanksgiving is being edged out by Halloween and Christmas. What a dichotomy, evil and good, edging out thankfulness. It is true that the reason for this is economic. The stores simply make more cashola from the other 2 holidays so they push them into the consumer’s path like a blaring siren on a quiet street. I noticed little lights and greenery decorating Main Street and even Christmas trees for sale 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. If this continues you’ll be able to do your last minute Christmas shopping in August. The Christmas season is a wonderful, spiritual, magical time and it needs to be remembered but maybe we are overdoing it a tad.
Christmas is the day when we remember that Jesus came into the world to change its direction and our futures. Thanksgiving is the day that we say thank you to our heavenly Father for everything He has given to us. I made a list of all the things I have to be thankful for this year. It is long so bear with me. Maybe it is the same list you have.
I live in the best, safest, most prosperous time and in the very best country in the world. What are the odds? I could have been born 200 years ago in China or 600 years ago in heart of the dark ages. I am healthy and so is my family. I have everything I need, actually much more than I need. I have the freedom to be whatever I want and to go wherever I wish. I can read and think (most days). I can run, dance, drive, cook, sing, listen, the list is endless. The Lord has blessed my life with many things that cannot be measured and I am most thankful for those intangibles. Love, hope, joy, appreciation, the beauty of His creation, freedom, humor: Yet another inexhaustible list.
There are many who have had a rough year and some who have little to be thankful for. Sometimes my heart breaks for the pain of others, but that should not diminish my thankfulness to God. It should instead make me more willing to be used by Him to help others. Life is busy and I easily forget that we are His hands. I need to thank Him more often. I need to serve Him better and to put my life fully in His hands.