Taking the time to properly give thanks
This week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day — a day when the people of this nation give thanks for all the blessings they’ve enjoyed and benefited from over the past year.
This is one of the most American of all holidays and despite its very religious nature we, as a nation, have managed to keep it free (or more or less free) of the denominational wranglings that mess up so many other holidays.
People of every race, religion, creed and ethnic background can enjoy the day and give thanks however they so please.
While living in Israel, the Americans in our valley alongside the Jordan River used to gather to celebrate Thanksgiving as a community each year.
It was a lot of fun and, in a sense, this special holiday helped us keep hold of a very special part of our national identity while living so far from home.
Americans all over the world celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
It makes them feel at home wherever they may be.
But more than just a fun, national holiday, Thanksgiving Day is ultimately an opportunity when we are given a special platform to really give thanks.
This day offers a unique chance to acknowledge that we aren’t just getting through this life on our own.
Too often we gather at the Thanksgiving Day table and grind out a perfunctual “blessing” before really setting down to the business of the day — eating until we see black circles roaming about our field of vision.
Sure, we say “Thanks,” but are we giving thanks? To quote Burton Willis: “I seriously don’t think God wants any pompous proclamation of thanks on one Thursday in November as much as He wants a little humble service from us every day of the year.”
It’s hard to think that we were ever meant to shut Thanksgiving up in a single day of the year.
We are called, as people of any and every faith, to give thanks daily – in every waking moment and in all of our actions.
Giving true and humble thanks for all we have received and the many blessings we all have is a great way of confessing our faith in a Creator who is good to us above all things and in all things.
We don’t often do that, though.
More often than not, our “thanksgiving” is really a backhanded acknowledgment of how successful we are. Our Thanksgiving celebration is too often an acknowledgement of ourselves.
Our thanks-giving — our Thanksgiving Day thanks-giving; our daily, weekly and monthly thanks-giving should reflect our acknowledgement that we simply can’t do it on our own.
We should be giving thanks not only when the table is creaking and groaning under the weight of food, but when the world is crashing down around us and things are at their worst.
It’s tough. But there you have it.