When you think about Thanksgiving what comes to your mind? When I was a child I remember Thanksgiving dinners at Grandma Duckworth’s. She was an incredible cook and everything was awesome, with the exception of the giblets in the gravy. 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 because of the help of God through 91 Indians. 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 that every definition of the word Thanksgiving was, “An expression of gratitude, especially to God”. Our society tries its hardest to take God out of everything. I guess it’s impossible to take God out of Thanksgiving. And so it should be. For thanksgiving is simply a praise, an adoration of God for the relationship he offers for free through his son Jesus. For those of us who know and treasure this relationship it is impossible not to be amazed at what God has created, the freedom and strength he gives. It is impossible to not humbly offer thanks to him. 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 hear my children say I love you Dad. There is incredible joy and life in a thankful heart.
Have you ever noticed that some folks just don’t seem to be thankful for almost anything? I suspect the reason is, as the dictionary says, it’s an expression of a relationship with God and they likely don’t have one. I am so, so thankful I do.