Traditions. Family. Football. Turkey and dressing. Pumpkin Pie.
I’m always just a little edgy about this time every year. When I was pastoring churches, this would be called the “busy” season. Once Halloween was finally behind me, it was a fast sprint toward Christmas and a brand new year of ministry. Of all the holidays that we celebrate, it just seems to me that Thanksgiving may be the most misunderstood.
We (my generation) were taught Thanksgiving came about in 1621, in a small town named Plymouth, instituted by Governor William Bradford, to celebrate the very first successful harvest. The Pilgrims came together because they were grateful they survived their first savage winter in the New World. My elementary teachers told us that President George Washington proclaimed the first national day of “thanksgiving and prayer” in 1789. But it wasn’t until 1863, when President Lincoln declared a day of Thanksgiving during the Civil War, that this tradition was celebrated annually across the nation.
We all want a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, where relationships are always perfect, and everyone loves each other unconditionally. I’m not really sure I’ve experienced even one year that measures up to this image. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying, right? Here’s a few topics from which to disengage this year: politics, old arguments, having children, and table manners. Does someone’s elbow on the table really constitute a crisis? This year find a way to walk outside a take a couple of deep breaths, go help someone in the kitchen, or play a game. Just remember, your words are the key to keeping the day positive, and the solution to family stress.
Since I’m the author of this blog, I feel somewhat free to talk about my favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys. Please don’t stop reading yet. Another stress-related Thanksgiving activity can be the emphasis on whether your team wins or not. Why would we do this? Why is this day so wrapped up into sports, instead of gratitude for life? I really enjoy watching football, especially when my team is winning. I learned the hard way, that all the emotional energy I reserve for football, is much better spent investing in the relationships around me at Thanksgiving.
Turkey and dressing, and pumpkin pie.
Well, truth be told, I prefer pecan pie, but that’s beside the point. I really enjoy the actual Thanksgiving meal itself. I’ve been privileged to eat many different kinds of Turkey preparations, a variety of dressing concoctions, green bean casseroles, and sweet potato (not my favorite) side dishes. Then as though we forgot about them, out come the desserts to die for… pies and puddings galore. And just like all the other topics above, I must ask, is the meal itself the essence of “Thanksgiving?”
Here’s the thing.
There are over 100 verses in the Bible about Thanksgiving. Don’t worry I’m not going to list them all here, although at the end of this article I’ll give you a link to check them out on your own. I leave you today with just these thoughts…
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, Most High.
Focus on thanksgiving, this Thanksgiving Day.
Link to Thanksgiving verses: https://www.openbible.info/topics/thanksgiving