Saturday, November 01, 2003

Newsletter: An Offering of Thanksgiving

In my life, there has always been something special about Thanksgiving. There were no cards, presents, costumes, or egg hunts, but still it was one of my favorite times of the year. The family was all there, and everyone joined in the preparations. Sure there was football later, but during the meal, nothing distracted us from our time together. We took a moment of Sabbath in our busy lives to gather together.

Times have changed. Do you remember the Norman Rockwell painting, Freedom from Want? In the picture, a smiling family is gathered around a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Recently, Readers Digest ran a picture which seemed to poke fun at the Norman Rockwell nostalgia. In this picture, a smiling family is gathered in the kitchen pulling a pre-made pumpkin pie and a roasted turkey out of grocery bags. Despite the differences, Thanksgiving still remains one of the least commercialized holidays. Even in our day, Thanksgiving remains as a celebration of family and fellowship.

However, too often our celebrations have forgotten to whom we should be most thankful. We are quick to offer thanks to everyone but God. When I was young, I believed that the first Thanksgiving was given by the Pilgrims to thank the Indians. I’m sure the Pilgrims were thankful to the Indians for teaching them how to survive in the American wilderness, but ultimately those early Puritans believed that they were dependent upon God’s provision. A Thanksgiving Proclamation from Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1676 stated that one purpose of the celebration was “that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him.”

At the end of November, let’s take a moment of Sabbath to gather together to thank God for his provision. As we count our blessings, let us remind one another of how merciful and graceful our God is. Let us live as a people offering praise and thereby glorifying our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Grace & Peace,