Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
What do you do for this holiday? Me? As we speak, my twenty-two pound turkey sits in a big cooler in a brine solution which has been its home for about ten hours (so far). Tonight, around 10:00 or so, it will come out and hit the oven for a long, overnight cook. My mother-in-law, who is in to visit her first grandchild (Danielle–my little angel) will be treating us to classic southern and Louisianian cuisine to compliment my brined bird. But is that all this holiday is? Eating? Eating well, mind you, but just…eating? No, it shouldn’t be.
Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV), “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This word “thanks” is the Greek word eucharisteo (εὐχαριστέω) which means “to express appreciation for benefits or blessings”. As such, if we are to “give thanks in all circumstances” we should be expressing our appreciation for benefits or blessings in all circumstances.
Thanksgiving, then, can be a fantastic holiday for choosing to remember what God has done. Maybe for you this past year has been rough. The economic conditions has made life a little more challenging, monetarily speaking, but yet look at what God has done!
How about this idea for Thanksgiving: make a list. Really. Write out a list of blessings. Tonight at Shelter Cove, we will be doing something very similar to that as a part of our Thanksgiving Eve service. We will be writing down some blessing from God, rolling up the pieces of paper and stuffing them into a prayer wall (think “The Wailing Wall” in Israel except with thanksgivings and praises!). What if…just what if you kept a journal of blessings? What if instead of focusing on the negative, you remembered the positive? What if when you’re temped to complain, you look back at all God has done.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy some turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings but don’t forget “to express appreciation for benefits or blessings”.