Thanksgiving is just around the corner, sneaking in under the radar. Has its uniqueness been co-opted or compromised by our rush toward Christmas?
The answer is: "Yes."
From the beginning, this American holiday was not about food and football, as much as it was about reserving a day to celebrate the spirit of thankfulness. It was and still is a national reminder to be grateful.
Although defined by many as an emotion, I believe thankfulness is a choice--a life choice. Followers of Jesus choose gratitude because they have experienced the unexpected overflow of grace. The Bible records Paul's often missed revelation:
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV).
In short, choose thanksgiving, whether you deserve it, or not; it's a God thing.
When grace reaches people, lives change. That personal, undeserved and unmerited gift changes everything. The overwhelming response is gratitude. So, here's the nugget of truth: If you haven't really accepted God's gifts, especially the ones wrapped in our pain, then you will have trouble really enjoying this holiday.
Here's the kicker:
- God blesses us with tears for moments of pain, so that we will reach out and touch the hurt. Our world gets rocked so that we will discover the comfort God gives and the ultimate healing HE provides.
- God blesses us with anger and rage at the craziness around us, so we will work for justice and mercy and compassion.
- God blesses us in spite of bad choices, so we grow and learn and work miracles when others least expect it.
- God gives us mystery, so we will expand our awe and enjoy the wonder and stand amazed. Grace makes our thanksgiving a celebration of HIS fingerprints.
Look beyond the marketplace. Don't reduce Thanksgiving Day to turkey and a nap.
It happened on August 5th and in minutes the tragic news echoed around the world. For 17 days we knew nothing of the fate of the Chilean minors.
Then, the unexpected: the news that 33 had survived.
A dramatic rescue effort was launched. Engineers crafted a never before attempted drilling plan. A missile-looking capsule was built; and prayers united people of all faith and nationalities.
Meanwhile, the buried, but courageous minors, discovered strengths hidden deep inside themselves. 69 days after the collapse, one at a time, the minors climbed in that tiny capsule and began their journey to the surface.
That Wednesday morning the world experienced thanksgiving wrapped in the simple joy of fresh air and human touch.
Hugs of grace rocked our world.
Muse a moment or two this week.
Take a walk and thank God for his grace. Think about the gifts God has given you through your failures, frustrations, mess-ups, and bad choices. That's more than enough reason for the Thanksgiving season. Thank HIM for growth and change and understanding that has come through your adversity.
Thank God for the good you have experienced especially the good you didn't earn or deserve.
Look for the fingerprints of God in the strangest places and share the spirit of thanksgiving with at least one other person.
Do something that encourages others to be grateful. It's infectious.
Write an unexpected "Thank You" note, or send an email. It's your overflowing message of grace.
Listen to the 6 Spirit of Thanksgiving spots and share with me your favorite.