When you think about Thanksgiving, what comes to mind? I remember Thanksgiving dinners at Grandma’s when I was a child. She was an incredible cook and everything was awesome, with the exception of the giblets in the gravy. I was never really quite sure what a giblet was, which didn’t add to my desire to actually eat them.
A little later in life, Thanksgiving meant some of the best football games of the season, both on TV and in the yard. Here in Oklahoma, Thanksgiving is celebrated by letting schools out for the entire week. Not necessarily to celebrate Thanksgiving, but for rifle deer season.
As most of us know, the holiday of Thanksgiving comes from a harvest celebration of the surviving 56 pilgrims who lost 46 of their original colonists in that first bitter winter. Those survivors only made it through because of the help from 91 Native Americans. George Washington proclaimed it a national holiday in 1789, Lincoln set the date as the last Thursday of November in 1863, and Congress made it a legal holiday in 1941.
In searching for the meaning of Thanksgiving, I was kind of shocked to see—in all dictionaries—every definition of the word was, “An expression of gratitude, especially to God.” Our society tries its hardest to take God out of everything. But it’s impossible to take God out of Thanksgiving. And so it should be.
Thanksgiving is simply a time for praise and adoration of God for the relationship He offers for free through his son Jesus Christ. For those of us who know and treasure this relationship, it is impossible not to be amazed by what God has created and the freedom and strength He gives us. It is impossible to not humbly offer thanks to Him for what He provides.
To me, Thanksgiving is something I do every night with my two little boys when we thank God for blessing us with an incredible wife and mother. It’s something I do when I walk into a workplace where I do not have to hide or suppress the fact that Jesus is my savior. It’s something I do when I see my co-workers care for each other and our customers. It’s something I do when I see my boys running down the driveway to greet me every day when I come home from work.
There is incredible joy and life in a thankful heart. But have you noticed some folks just don’t seem to be all that thankful? Their outlook on life is negative. They are not compelled to thanksgiving. I suspect the reason is, as the dictionary says, it’s an expression of their relationship with God, and they likely don’t have one. I am so, so thankful I do.
As we move toward the Thanksgiving holiday, our prayers and wishes for you are to take time to look at the good things in life and give thanks to the One who created all good things.