So it's just about Thanksgiving and I do fear we've lost or at least muddied what it really means.
For many Thanksgiving is about football and now it's becoming about shopping (as stores seem to be opening earlier and earlier). For others the extent of Thanksgiving is food and family. That's not a bad thing, in fact a pretty good thing - but what about "THANKS" and what about "GIVING"?
Ok let's talk about "thanks" -- what are we truly thankful for? If we're to recapture the thanks in thanksgiving, we need to at least pause for a minute and ask ourselves what we're thankful for. My guess is at first glance, most of us would think about the material possessions we have, and really reflect on our current circumstances. If our circumstances are good or better than a year ago, we may say we are especially thankful this year.
We may also have had a health scare or financial challenge -- and so we then tend to say we're especially thankful for our health or that we still have a place to live.
But what if we could go deeper. Deeper to things like the relationships we share. Sure they may not all be what we hope they could be -- but there are people we care about and who care about us -- that's a reason to be thankful. And it's a reason to tell them we're thankful for them.
Now let's go one level deeper -- to our character. Has our character grown this year? Are we more loving, more peaceful, more patient than a year ago? If so, our personal growth can be a reason for thanks. And how about a God who cares deeply for us, deeply enough to send His Son, Jesus to do for us what no one can do for themselves -- die for our sin.
That's what He did and He now offers to all of us the chance to respond personally and put our full faith and trust in Him. And the fact that that offer is for everyone is a reason for thanks.
Second part of the word is "giving". While we tend to think of consuming or gorging at Thanksgiving -- it actually can be a time of giving and my guess is if you do, you'll experience a level of thanksgiving you've not before.
So what can we give? How about some praise, some blessing to others in our lives. As a pastor and counselor I'm amazed how many people I meet who say how thier dad or mom never once said they were proud of them or that they mattered to them. You can give words of life to people in your world and it will make a difference!
You can give by going out of your way to help someone else. It could be inviting someone to your meal who does not have a place to go for Thanksgiving. It could be bringing someone a pie or helping with a household need. Thirdly, it's financial -- there are many many organizations and churches that exist solely to help others but are completely dependent on financial gifts of real people to make them go. Generosity has a powerful impact on the lives of others.
Thanksgiving doesn't need to become about what our consumeristic culture wants it to become. We can choose to stand up and truly be thankful -- thankful for the things that truly matter.
That being said, let me say, "Thank You" for taking the time to read my blog posts from time to time. I love that my random ramblings might be of some benefit to others.
That being said, I'd love to ramble in person some Sunday with you (well not just you, but a room full of "you" haha :) - Trying to be creative here -- but the bottom line is you're invited to join us ANY Sunday at Grace Church Roseville - hope to meet you soon!
And just in case you missed it --> I AM thankful for YOU!