We each have our favorite ways to celebrate Thanksgiving. Each tradition brings families closer as we gather to be thankful for what God has blessed us with during the year.
Like many other Americans the third Thursday in November we give thanks for our blessings throughout the year. Thanksgiving is a beautiful part of our American heritage in thanking God for a bountiful harvest.
When I was growing up we did not have much. My dad’s favorite quote was “why is there so much month left at the end of the money” he even had it on a plate that always hung in our home. There were times that we had breakfast for supper (which I still enjoy today!), and a German meal called Eintopf (one pot) basically a meat broth base that has whatever is in your kitchen thrown in – still a favorite.
But Thanksgiving, we would always have turkey; during our lean times and during our times of plenty. And trust me every part of that turkey was used for meals for over a week. We would have a table filled to the brim of all the holiday fixings. I can still hear my mother saying how she never understood the holiday and why we only have turkey once a year and why do we need to eat it to be thankful. Never one to really like turkey she once told me every year she always tried to get my dad to get a ham. Yet when dad passed away we still had turkey. Traditions gotta love them!
We may have struggled all year but there were many blessings to be thankful for. The year my mother had her first heart attacked, thankful she survived. Then there was the year my father passed away and my brother killed in an accident, when it was hard to find thanks – we found God’s blessings. My faith still growing and being attacked by other events, I could not understand how a loving God could take half of my family away. But blessings were found in His presence and in the love between a mother and a sister. I would have to say that was the first time I saw God. He was in each face of the people who gave us comfort, support and food. I would see God’s face many times in my life; in the doctors and nurses who cared for me when I was battling breast cancer and in the pouring of love from close friends and strangers when my husband passed away. And every day in-between in the different way God reveals Himself to all of us, I see Him.
There are many joys to be thankful for; parents who cared for us the best way they could, finding a godly man to share my life with and my children are just a few. I am thankful for our Heavenly Father who sees to our needs and provided a way for all of us to be in a restored relationship with Him, through His Son, Jesus.
We can have thankful hearts toward God even when we do not feel thankful for our circumstances. We can grieve and still be thankful. We can hurt and still be thankful. We can be angry at sin and death, still being thankful toward God. Scripture calls it a “sacrifice of praise” – “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name”. Hebrews 13:15.
Giving thanks to God keeps our hearts in a right relationship with Him and saves us from a host of harmful emotions and attitudes that will rob us of the peace God wants us to experience. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6–7
This Thanksgiving when you gather with friends and family offer your sacrifice of praise to our Lord. Then the day after Thanksgiving make it a daily practice. Lift praises to God during the times of blessings and the times of trial. And watch God at work in your life.
Greet each day with thanksgiving remembering what Jesus did for you.