it seemed overnight that they mysteriously disappeared from front porches and front lawns, which is probably an appropriate exit considering their nature – all spooky and what not; ghosts, goblins, mummies, bats, tombstones and other Halloween type decorations that had filled front yards in many a neighborhood. But I barely had time to notice their absence as the orange lights had already been replaced with Christmas lights and snowmen and Santa Clauses stood where ghosts and goblins had been only the day before.
Colorful costumes and candy corn are traded in for Christmas carols and candy canes so quickly that something is lost in the exchange. That something is the holiday of Thanksgiving. A favorite for sure of any true foodie, Thanksgiving is a holiday full of food, family, friends, football, fellowship and fun; a uniquely American holiday.
Thanksgiving, however, seems to get lost in the shuffle between Halloween and Christmas every year. Maybe it’s because there are no decorations required or gifts to buy, it is not a retail holiday but it is a real holiday. (if the Post Office is closed it’s officially a real holiday) Unfortunately, Thanksgiving Thursday has become the new Black Friday. Yes, Black Friday now happens on Thanksgiving Day.
So now this lost, overlooked holiday is being erased by the retail rush to began the Christmas season. (notice Christmas has a season, not just a day) And judging from all the demands and stress that can accompany the Christmas season, one would think we would value a day of doing nothing but eating, napping and watching football continuously. We need to prepare ourselves for the season ahead.
But more than that, we need to take the time to be grateful, to be intentional about acknowledging all that is good in our lives, to focus on what we do have rather than on what we feel we lack. Unfortunately, our culture wants to keep us in a state of discontent, so that we are always longing for more of something or for something different than what we already have.
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.” (Psalm 107:21-22)
“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – ” (Psalm 103:2)
that’s the thing, true Thanksgiving involves remembering – remembering what God has done for us in loving us enough to send us Jesus, what Jesus has done for us by dying on that cross to pay the price of my sin and your sin, remembering acts of kindness rather than choosing to focus on the times others let us down.
“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
that may be easier said than done, but gratefulness is the key that frees us up to appreciate and enjoy what we already have instead of wishing for what we don’t.
“Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:26)
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
Lord, tomorrow (and every day) help me to count my blessings, knowing they all come from You the Giver of every good gift. For food, for freedom, for family, for friends, for forgiveness, for faith – let me be truly thankful.
gratefully, Grace Day