Is this the roasted, fried or stuffed version of the winged creature that we speak of? Or is this a description of the way we eat on this food filled day? Likewise some of us will be gobbling up our share of football. While others brave the crowds to gobble up the “sales” at the various retail aisles.
Whatever Thanksgivings started as, much of the holiday has turned into a day of consumerism and consumption. Certainly many of us will simply spend the day re-united with family and close friends and use this long weekend to engage with family and in fellowship.
Family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, these are all good things to be thankful for. Indeed such relationships are granted to us to support us as we live as pilgrims in a foreign land.
“Becoming a Christian makes a person at home in every culture, and at odds with every culture,” began Piper, noting the tension that becoming a Christian brings to our everyday life. While we might have what Piper calls a “settler mentality” where we feel at home in Christ no matter where we are, we also develop a “pilgrim mentality,” realizing that we don’t quite fit in with the culture around us.
So while our citizenship is of a different kingdom, how should we be thankful in this current life? It is a broken world that we live in. Just read the news. Wars, famine, slavery, disease, human trafficking and all forms of social injustice just to name a few, crowd our headlines. Closer to home, we have all experienced the pain of our own depravity, and the disappointments that come from friends, and even our loved ones. Yes family and spouses can hurt us deeply by their words and deeds. And likewise we have been perpetrators of such pain.
On the other hand, we can sort positive, much like many self-help gurus advise. Thus we keep track of all the good things that have occurred the past year, and we hang our praises on that. The only fallacy is that from year to year, we will have a different list, some years longer, other incidences more meaningful. Soon we are faced with the logical argument that some years were better than others. And thus those will be better years. That also means that some of those other years were not as good.
If our thanksgiving is based on our list of good things and our views, our praises will seesaw with the seasons and the winds. So as Christians what reminders do we have as how we ought to focus our lives and our praises?
PAUL’s PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH COLOSSAE
Col 1:9b-14 We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
PSALM 111 IS ONE OF MANY GREAT PSALMS OF PRAISE
1 Praise the Lord. I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever – holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
On this Thanksgiving, do give thanks for all the good things, your loved ones, for family and friends. And start to give thanks for all the things that we might deem not so good, because the totality of our lives and circumstances are in His domain, and we deserve much worse.
Thus I am thankful for my family and friends. Oh how much joy you all bring to me. And I am thankful this year as my right eye is loosing its sight. I am thankful this year and this season, just last week, my company and its services for Las Vegas, our source of income for 5 years is no longer needed and has been terminated. I am thankful that God answered my prayers and shut a door. A shut door is God’s answer. I am thankful that my future is not clear, that at 57, I am given the privilege to trust Him fully.
ISAIAH 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
May you have a great Thanksgiving and may your praises for this day and each day be about Him. Indeed He is always worthy of our praise. Come rain or shine, trials and tribulations, we have a certainty that is promised to us through no act of our own, but because of His sacrificial love. Now that is certainly one thing that we can never be thankful enough. Nor is this an act of love that can be beat or surpassed! Thus each year is a great year, a gift that is and shall remain unsurpassed.
As each year passes and as He molds me and breaks me to become the son He desires me to be, my years get better because I get closer to God. Some year hence it will become the best year forever, because I will be with Him. He is worthy of all our praise.