Thanksgiving: More Than Just Good Food
Turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs. These are all things that remind us of Thanksgiving. But in and of themselves they are just food. Good food, but food nonetheless. And yet every year we get to this season of Thanksgiving and we spend countless hours, dollars, and energy cooking, eating, and cleaning up the massive amounts of awesome food we have consumed. And for so many of us, this is the extent of what Thanksgiving is about. Food, food, and more food. However, when we limit the season to simple recipes, we miss the fullness of what we could experience if we simply allowed Thanksgiving to become its namesake, a day for truly giving thanks.
As a culture we have lost the ability to take a step back and reflect on the wonderful things that surround us each day. We have forgotten the power in giving thanks. When was the last time you were asked "what are you thankful for today?" Most of us will go through the entire year before hearing this phrase again next Thanksgiving. Our lack of having this question asked of us, or asking it in turn, makes it nearly impossible to see the many wonderful things right in front of us. We live in a consumeristic culture which blinds us from taking note of the beauty, the bounty, and the blessing of all we have and experience in life. And yet there is power and breathtaking joy in "taking notice" and in living in the reality of a culture of gratitude.
Scripture often points us to this posture of gratitude and thanksgiving. One of my favorite passages is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." One of the undeniable desires of God's heart for you is that you experience unparalleled joy and beauty. God has an intended beauty he longs for humanity to live within. A beauty that brings healing and laughter, love and peace. And God is constantly at work to bring about this reality for humanity.
We have so much to be thankful for this time of year. Family, friends, health, happiness, joy, our children, jobs, homes, a voice, strength, and so much more. We do not all have the same things to be grateful for. And for some of us it may be more difficult to find the things that bring us gratitude. But all of us have a story, that when examined closer, is covered with the handprints of God.
Let's make this Thanksgiving about more than just good food. Let's take a moment to reflect on the beauty of our story, the magnitude of Jesus' work on the cross, and unprecidented joy of living in a posture of gratitude and thankfulness.