Thanks-giving Post Script

This comes in response to my post on Nov. 20th about Thanksgiving.  Apparently I am not the only one contemplating these thoughts.  Here is an excerpt from a recent email that Ben Cachiaras, senior pastor of Mountain Christian Church, shared with the congregation:

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A wise old saying reminds us “It’s a terrible and lonely thing to feel gratitude and not know whom to thank.” Okay, it’s not really that old, because I may have just made it up. But it’s true, isn’t it? One of the things I love about being a Christian is the way it totally orients my life toward God. I have a moral compass bearing, a constant sense of direction to my life, a consistent purpose to fulfill. 

And I always know whom to thank. “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, creator of all the lights in the heavens. He never changes, like a shifting shadow.” (James 1:17) If you are grateful for ANYTHING, don’t rack it up to random luck, hard work, or anonymous blessing that fell into your lap by chance of evolutionary process. Direct your thanks to God.  

And if you are in a difficult season right now, finding it hard to be thankful these days – because of your finances, your health, or some other hardship or hurt – remember that gratitude is not just something that comes flowing easily and naturally out of our hearts during times of plenty and blessing. Thanksgiving for God’s people sometimes must come out of our minds, because we decide to be thankful, even when circumstances are not all that great. We can be thankful, even in our times of struggle. It’s a strong person who can do that, and Jesus shows us that the worst life can bring is not too much for the Father to turn around into a reason for thanks. 

Life’s hurts and hardship can make you bitter. Or they can make you better. This Thanksgiving, let God make you BETTER, even in your hurt and hardship, by directing to the LORD a great big, hearty offering of thanks and praise. 

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Thanks-giving

It is Thanksgiving week and that can only mean good things!  A two day work week for me, turkey and other seasonal foods, time with family, and more.  Every year plays out the same so I guess it is one marvelous 48-hour tradition that looks something like this:

Thursday morning I wake up early and prepare homemade egg mcmuffins for the family, casually watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade until I either get bored or annoyed with the frequency of childish pop stars.  My parents spend the next few hours (if not some time the night before) preparing a feast for the table, to which my aunt and cousin come over for a 2:00 lunch.  We socialize for a while, reflect on the year, and share what we are thankful for before travelling over to the living room where we watch a movie and/or football.  (This is probably the only game I get to sit and really pay attention to all season so that’s a treat in itself.)  Once half of the family has reached the end of the film and previewed one of the bonus features and the other half of the family has met their quota of time spent  snoring on the person next to them, we migrate back into the dining room for some pie or desserts.

The grand festivities end around 7 or 8 p.m., our guests proceed out the door, and we hit the sack.  Before I can process what happens next, the alarm clock is waking me up at 3:30 a.m. on Friday morning so that my mother and I can go hit the early bird specials for Black Friday shopping.  We race through our list, make out like bandits, head home with what little energy we have left, and sleep for the next 3 hours.  Whenever I finally reemerge to a state of consciousness, I spend the rest of the weekend preparing for school and the holiday draws to a close.

I LOVE THANKSGIVING!  It has to be my *almost* favorite holiday, second only to Christmas.  The traditions bring warm memories and the food satisfies my hunger until we do it all again next year.

The thing I find remarkable about Thanksgiving is that virtually everyone in the United States celebrates this holiday, no matter what age, race, heritage, or religion.  Everyone takes at least one day out of the year to give thanks.  We should do this everyday…but I’ll let it slide because that’s the message for another entry.

Let me reinforce that: Practically everyone in the United States observes Thanksgiving.   Have you ever stopped and considered the absurdity of that fact? What I find so peculiar is that in order to give thanks, you must have an object to which the thanks are offered.  So many people take up this cause as if  the sentiment were ingrained deep within themselves, yet at the same time so many people fail to acknowledge the God who is waiting to receive their thanks with open arms.  Is table fellowship and tasty food really that satisfying to inspire a universal attitude in the human race?  Is football really that influential?  Is consumerism really that powerful?  Maybe.  Perhaps American culture is truly that pervasive.  But I suspect there is a design behind the holiday far greater than any of these things because there is a God who makes us want to offer tribute. While we give thanks, whether it be one day of the year or every day of the year, we must remember the One who deserves these thoughts, praises, and prayers. Set him at the center of your table this Thanksgiving.

Scoop