You get to sleep in a little. There are great parades on TV this morning (and we even know some people in them). Some of the greatest football rivalries face off later. The sales begin in a few hours. Family is gathering. And the food – oh, the food!
But is that really Thanksgiving?
What about those who don’t “feel” thankful? Unmet expectations, loss of loved ones, sickness, financial problems, cruel people, fears galore – there are SO many reasons why SO many people don’t “feel” very thankful today.
But should that stop Thanksgiving?
When I was a little kid, one summer during Vacation Bible School at my church, they challenged us to memorize Psalm 100. Since I am a tad bit competitive, I took the challenge. And ever since then I have loved that passage – what I like to think of as MY Thanksgiving passage.
It reminds me of what REAL Thanksgiving is all about! Thanksgiving isn’t about a date on the calendar or my feelings. Thanksgiving is realizing to whom we owe thanksgiving and giving it.
“Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to the LORD! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalm 100:1-2)
I see volume here – SHOUT it out! Thanksgiving is giving thanks – it’s public. It’s not to be kept private. It’s to be proclaimed – sung about – expressed through serving.
How are you expressing your thanks to God?
“Acknowledge that the LORD is God. He made us, and we are his – his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)
Real thanksgiving happens when you know your place. None of us is the center of the universe. As Rick Warren puts it, “It’s not about me!” As long as ego is involved, you cannot be truly thankful to God.
Real thanksgiving happens when you know God’s place. He created everything. He is greater than everything. He owes us nothing, but He loves us in spite of ourselves. And He is not the one who destroys; sin does. He blesses!
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.” (Psalm 100:4)
Here’s where I (and probably you) get tripped up. We definitely have passion – just listen to everyone when the football games get going – or when politics are brought up. But when we are supposed to be celebrating Thanksgiving, most of us sit down to overeat, say an obligatory prayer, and that’s it for the “thanksgiving.”
As Americans we are blessed with FAR more opportunities and material things than the majority of the world. And if you are a Christian, you are blessed with eternal hope and God’s presence. Is there anything else more important than that? Is there anything greater? Isn’t that all we need to be thankful?
“For the LORD is good, and his faithful love endures forever; his faithfulness through all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)
Today, if you mention things for which you are thankful, you’ll probably mention stuff and relationships. But please remember (as James 1:17 reminds us) that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. And though life can be hard and people can be cruel, God is good.
Think about that. God is good!
And His faithful love endures forever. The truth is that I deserve punishment and judgment (we all do). But God freely offers mercy. Jesus paid the ultimate price, and He keeps on giving.
I don’t want a fake Thanksgiving. Do you?
I want to give my thanksgiving. I want to have a thankful heart. I want to live out of my thankfulness.