Good morning, and a very happy Thanksgiving to you all! This is that day in American culture where we are infamous for waking up and turning on the T.V. to watch the Macy's Day Parade, and then when the Turkey's ready, stuffing ourselves to overflowing and — in a stupor fueled by tryptophan — plopping ourselves in front of the T.V. again to watch the football games. But is that what Thanksgiving Day is really about? No, of course not.
Well then, is it about the Pilgrims and Indians, and those school plays that we used to do until the budget cuts eliminated things like that? I seem to recall being an Indian in the 4th grade, and being very self-conscience as I, dressed in gym shorts with a simulated leather cover and no shirt, came on stage to deliver my one line: "Here," as I handed over a basket of steamed corn on the cob ready to eat. I know, not very historically accurate – but very cute.
I think those school plays were closer to the truth of what Thanksgiving is about.
While books have been written on Thanksgiving, and thousands of sermons have been preached, when I read this morning’s Epistle I was struck with these two verses from the Letter of St. James: “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” (James 1:16-18 ESV)
I believe that Thanksgiving is, indeed, about giving thanks to God for all his wonderful gifts poured out upon us; recognizing that, indeed, “every good gift is from above.” We so often fail to realize that what we have — everything we have — is a gift from God. It is not from our own making; not from our own doing; but from the Lord of heaven and earth. This runs counter culturally to everything that we hear and read in the world around us. We are told that we “deserve” that Mercedes Benz, or we “deserve” to be happy, or wealthy, or thinner, or stronger, etc., etc. A grateful heart recognizes that we do not deserve anything, but because of God’s grace and love, we receive.
My prayer for you this Thanksgiving – and my prayer for me — is that our hearts and souls will have our longings satisfied when we understand that the only true source of that satisfaction is Jesus Christ, and him alone.
I pray you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!