In a couple of days we will celebrate the American Thanksgiving. Undoubtedly, many of us have been in the throws of preparation for days or even weeks now. I personally love Thanksgiving. I love that it is a time dedicated to showing and sharing gratitude. It challenges me to look even in the darker years at the many blessings we have been bestowed, and, so long as you are not living under a rock somewhere, it should not be that hard to see the graciousness of God in our lives. Especially if you live in America (which I presume most of us do.)
But, if we are not careful we can still fall prey to ungratefulness, even in a season dedicated to seeking and embracing it. You know what I mean; the budget is too tight to get the big Turkey. The lines are too long at the store. Work still has to be done on Thanksgiving day. Loved ones that have always been with us, won’t. I don’t think I need to mention the stress and tension the recent election has had on the relationships within both family and friends. The house is not clean enough, we burn the pies. We have to make extra trips to the store. The kids are fighting, the husband is napping (not mine of course *wink*) etc… The list goes on, and slowly, slowly we find our thankfulness being edged out by complaints and concerns and with it so goes our peace and our joy. We forget so easily, and so quickly we let the provisions of God slip our minds. I know I am so guilty of this.
Last night I was exhausted and as I looked at my to-do list, it only had two items checked-off for the day. Just two. I felt Defeat creeping in bringing his best friend Overwhelm along with him. I felt my throat tighten and I heard my words getting sharper. I knew if I didn’t do something and quick this night would go down in history like so many others, where this Mamma lost it and the kids would have one more sour memory to add to (their already too well deposited) memory banks. This is my struggle, and I often feel powerless to stop it.
My typical course of action is escape. And sometimes a breather is good. If you need one take one. But, I have learned that it doesn’t solve the issue. This is a heart issue for me and as long as this organ beats in my chest it will follow me around, unless I deal with it.
No, escape doesn’t work.
Prayer? Yes. I toss one up in hopes He’ll catch it before the next sharp word leaves my mouth. And what happens next? I look down and catch the disheartened eyes of my son. He knows where this night is going.
And just like that, all of the reasons “why” come rushing back to me.
Why I am working my fingers to the bone and still only accomplishing two things. Why Thanksgiving is so important to me – It’s not for me. It’s for God and it is for them.
If we want to have a holiday season filled with thanksgiving, peace and joy, we must remember the WHY. And that “why” is why we have the holidays in the first place.
God instituted Feasts for the nation of Israel to help them remember what He had done and where they had been as a nation. He also put them in place to help them remember his provision and to cultivate faith in the coming Redeemer. Of course the American Thanksgiving was not one of the original biblical feasts, but it is a feast of our culture and it is important that we remember the “why” and its purpose.
What is interesting as I read about the feasts of Israel, is that while many of the feasts included a sacrifice, the feast itself was part of the sacrifice. And if we recall, a sacrifice glorifies God only when the heart behind it is in the right spirit.
So, as the day approaches, here is what I purpose to resolve, that when I feel my Joy begin to slip away, or when I begin to loose my peace and feel frustrated about things not going “according to my plan.” I hope to take a breath and remember why.
Why we make this sacrifice of time, resources and routinely comforts to honor and thank God who has so richly blessed us.
I leave you with this:
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful.
God Bless you. Have a wonderful time of Preparation.