Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples! – I Chronicles 16:8
So it is November. In two weeks the majority of Americans will cook turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce etc. and eat to much, all while gathered with their families – literal, adopted, and otherwise. I have a student that recently told me that, in his family, no one likes turkey. Therefore, everyone brings their favorite meat and they end up having something that resembles Golden Corral at the traditional meal.
While we now focus on our friends, family, temporary gluttony and the subsequent stupor, the original point of our national holiday was grounded in remembering a time when the Native Americans
saved our sorry butts helped the Pilgrims, even though their experience should have caused them to treat us with suspicion and avoidance. A culture that supposedly knew nothing of our God reached out and extended grace in Biblical proportions.
And November becomes the token month for remembering our blessings and expressing thanks for them. And….I kid you not, two days ago on Nickelodeon, Sponge Bob Squarepants explained to Squidward, Patrick, and Mr. Crabs that they should have “an attitude of gratitude.” I couldn’t help but giggle that Sponge Bob is attempting to be a moral authority for our children, but since mine enjoy him so much (do not judge me)…I suppose I am grateful.
In an attempt to link my two paragraphs together, I am struck by how we as a culture forget to really talk about the large implications of how the Native American Indians really did save the Pilgrims….even after incredibly unfriendly treatment. And how important it is to pass this on to our children. This holiday was founded in our faith and showing gratitude for all the times God has reached his hand out and blessed us.
Recently in our small group, I shared that I often got embarrassed when I shared Nathan’s and my story. Not because of I am ashamed of what people will think when they discover that I am a preacher’s kid that got knocked up in college by a guy I barely knew…but because they will question my readiness to share it.
I do not, under any circumstances, want people to believe that I am proud of the things I did in college. As a matter of fact, there are things that I wish with every fiber of my being I could absolutely remove from my past. However, I NEVER want to forget the rescue my Savior extended to me and I want His name to be glorified. Hebrews 11, the “Faith Chapter”, recounts the pillars of the Old Testament who allowed God to use them in monumental ways by having faith in His divine plan. (Last week, one of our awesome ministers focused on how God used a prostitute, who became part of Jesus’ genealogy. That is GRACE!) The early church Christians recited these stories frequently to remember how God had always provided rescue and give them faith that He would provide it again.
And that is my challenge to you this month. Several of my friends have been posting everyday on Facebook something they are grateful for. I have to say that I have neglected to do this. However, I am going to take time to explain Thanksgiving, and what it means to approach the throne “with thanksgiving” to my children this year. I will take the time each day to thank God for that day and all it will hold. I will remember that every good and perfect gift comes from above. I will, in my excess, find a way to bless someone else, and I will refrain from falling into discontent when I realize I cannot afford the new shoes I want right now. I will thank those who help me and I will let the people in my life know how grateful I am for their part in this life….
I encourage you to do the same….because even Sponge Bob understands that we should be grateful for what we have been given and the people we have in our lives.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – I Thessalonians 5:16-18