Thanksgiving requires thanks–living

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the anticipation of the annual turkey day feast makes our mouths water just thinking about it.

For many, the memories of Thanksgivings past bring a warm feeling to our hearts, and perhaps a little phantom indigestion to our bellies. For others, it just means plenty of stress.

It’s easy to lose perspective, especially with all the trappings of the holiday season.

It’s especially easy in our increasingly secular culture. We have become a largely ungrateful people, not unlike the TV cartoon brat, Bart Simpson, who when called on to say grace, prayed “Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing.”

The reality is that Thanksgiving for the non-believer is one of the most perplexing days of the year.

Why?

Because giving thanks, by definition, requires that you are thankful to someone. And as Mary Ann Vincent says it, “The atheist’s most embarrassing moment is when he feels profoundly thankful for something, but can’t think of anybody to thank for it.”

Though Thanksgiving is not a distinctly Christian holiday, thanksgiving as an act is a major biblical teaching. Scripture is full of admonitions to give thanks, and examples of those who did.

There is no more specific exhortation than the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

There it is in a nutshell.

It is God’s will for us to be thankful, even when times are tough. We’re talking about living life with an attitude of gratitude, day by day.

Thanksgiving is thanks-living.

Here’s hoping we don’t miss the significance of the Thanksgiving festivities this year.

May we count our blessings, and make those blessings count, as we live out our lives with hearts that are truly grateful for all God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

Ken Letson is the pastor at The Church at Shelby Crossings. He can be reached by e–mail at kenletson@shelbycrossings.com.