give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)
I have a confession to make.
I don’t like Thanksgiving. There I said it. I don’t like Thanksgiving. I never have, and I probably never will. I suppose that makes me an all too young curmudgeon or some kind of cretin, but before we go on attaching labels to people all willy-nilly, let me explain.
Thanksgiving has become a holiday that centers around a particular meal, a meal which I have never liked! I know it is almost incomprehensible for someone to not like thanksgiving dinner, but that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like Turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and don’t even get me started on pumpkin pie. Let’s face it, Thanksgiving centers around this particular meal. It has become synonomus with the day. You know the drill, lots of stress centered around making a huge meal for the family. I can still see my mom and dad in the kitchen for the better part of the day prepping, cooking, carving and getting everything ready for dinner. Because I don’t like the meal, for me growing up, my thanksgiving dinner included mashed potatoes and the rolls…everything else stayed off my plate. Having a holiday that centered around a meal that I just don’t like at all makes for a pretty unpleasant holiday.
I know thanksgiving is also about families getting together (which we all know is joyous and terrific) and of course watching football. My family was together all the time, and I watch football every saturday and sunday, so the only thing that made Thanksgiving any different was the meal…which as we know by know I don’t like. (I actually believe that thanksgiving should be a dinner of Prime Rib or a porterhouse steak, that is another conversation.)
What about giving thanks?
Of course we all give a nod to saying what we are thankful for at Thanksgiving, and perhaps your Thanksgiving tradition includes everyone sharing what they are thankful for before eating. There is of course nothing wrong with giving thanks. In fact it is commanded of us in Scripture to do so. We are commanded to be thankful, to give thanks, do so “with thanksgiving” 66 different times in scripture.
Why do we wait until November to be thankful? If we have been saved from death to life by Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice then thanksgiving should be our natural response. It should be woven into our very fabric. It should flow out us individually and as a church. We should be the most thankful people we know.
Don’t wait until you are carving a turkey to express your thanks. Give thanks everyday to God. Give thanks to the God who saves you, who gives you life eternal, who sustains you daily. Give thanks even when you don’t feel particularly thankful. Give thanks when things are good and bad. Give thanks for what you have and don’t have. Give thanks around your Thanksgiving table and every other day of the year.
We have much to be thankful for!
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17 ESV)