This is a unique year in that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated here 400 years ago in what was to become the United States in the year 1621. It may not seem much different than other year, as we have all grown a little older, and maybe a little more appreciative of being able to gather and celebrate with friends and family than we did a year ago. But when you look back over the years, some things have changed and some have remained the same. Technology has definitely changed, but the faith, struggles, hopes, and dreams of the people then may not be much different than many of us today. We gather around the table with friends and family to give thanks for the blessings we have been given, and try to appreciate the day with all it has to offer. Maybe most of those in your life act about the same as they do each year, but taking a break from our normal routines to humble ourselves by giving thanks to God is not a bad routine, no matter how often we practice it. What do you enjoy most about Thanksgiving?
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In my experience, giving thanks to God and to others for both big things and the day to day little things, helps keep a few things in check in my life, notably greed, pride, and selfishness. It doesn’t take long during a normal day for me to start to feel entitled, and self-righteous when I start to compare myself to others. If we look at those less fortunate than ourselves, we can easily start to criticize them for the situation they are in, without even knowing the why. We can start to pity them, and even try to justify reasons we should not attempt to help them. We may even condemn them and say they or their parents must have committed some horrendous sin for them to be in their current state. We can look at those more fortunate than ourselves and be equally as critical and judgemental and envious of them, even to the point of wishing them harm to make ourselves not feel as bad. Why do you think people gossip about others and condemn their actions, but to try and make us feel better or more self-righteous because at least we didn’t do x, y, z, like they did. These are but a few examples of the sin that often tries to enter into our hearts and minds, disguised as acceptable behavior. A simple humble prayer of thanksgiving can help put some of these things away from us as quickly as a near death experience.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
So, as you sit down with those around you, give thanks not only for the plate set before you, and the good things and blessings in your life, but also for being brought back regularly to a place of humility and gratitude where God can change your heart. Through the forgiveness of sins found in Christ, may he continue to give us a heart like His when we surrender our desires to His, and our will to His. When we live with an attitude of gratitude, we can much more readily be in tune to how God wants to use us each day, and even moment to moment. May you find and live with that thankful heart today, and each day we live out this life we have been given, the best we are able and empowered to do!
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. Acts 17:24-25
Yours in Christ,