As we are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I thought I should give you some advice for celebrating this holiday. The first thing that I would tell you comes from Jim Davis, who said, “Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” Keep that in mind as you plan your Thanksgiving meals!
Perhaps I should give you more to work with. So, the second thing I would tell you is to make sure you actually take time to give thanks this week. I know most of us will get some good meals in and see our family. We can get so caught up in these activities that we never think about all the things we are thankful for. If you need to, break away from family gatherings to get some quiet time. Find a quiet place to name off all things that you appreciate in your life. If you have to, go to your car or the woodshed for a peaceful place to practice this. You can even make this a part of your family time by taking turns sharing what you are grateful for.
Also, keep in mind that as people of faith we celebrate Thanksgiving a little differently than the rest of the world. A lot of people stop at giving thanks for what they have. However, as Christians, we are called to do more than that. We are also asked to give praise to God as part of our thanksgiving. Psalm 106:1 (NIV) says, “Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” We are not just giving thanks to ourselves or to other people. We are giving thanks to God by praising God for all that we have received. It is logical that if God has done so much for us, we will want to sing and talk about how good God has been to us.
Giving thanks and praising God are two good activities for us to engage in. However, I believe God is asking us to do even more as part of our thanksgiving. Paul tells us what to do in Hebrews 13:16 where he says, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” If you are thankful, your heart will overflow with gratitude, which will lead you to sharing that kindness with others. I cannot count the number of times that I have pulled up to the McDonald’s drive thru to pay only to find that the person in front of me has already paid for my meal. Even small acts of kindness, like that, are great ways to “pay it forward.” Make sure you take time this Thanksgiving to share some of your blessings with other people around you.
When I graduated from high school, my dad called me two days later to see if I had sent out my thank-you notes for the graduation gifts that I received. Of course, I had not written a single note. However, my dad wanted to make sure that I gave thanks for what I had gotten. Being thankful is simply good manners as far as I am concerned. However, it is so much more for Christians. It is part of our belief that God has been and will continue to be good to us. So, we praise God and share in those blessings with others.