On Thursday people all over America will gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving. The obligatory question always arises. What are you thankful for this year?
I saw a “friend’s” post on Facebook and without naming names or providing exact quotes. They basically stated that they are “so over this holiday”. They said they are thankful & see family every day already, the food blows, people will judge my food contribution, and something about an animal carcass as a center piece disgusts them. They ended their thoughts with a hashtag something like eff Turkeyday.
First off: I was EXTREMELY tempted to comment “______, you’re not invited to Thanksgiving.” You know, short and to the point. I don’t know this person that well and no, they are not coming to my house.
(Confession: I friended a lot of people when I was still drinking. I had some wild nights sharing on Facebook over the years, while under the influence too. I think all those posts have been deleted. I hope.)
Second: I thought it ironic that they said the “food blows” and then complained that someone would judge their contribution.
Third: Animal rights can be passionate issue for some people. However, I’ll go with Bible on this one:
Genesis 9:2-3 says “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.”
As for “unclean” animals, those food restrictions are gone with the New Testament (see Acts 10).
So we are having Turkey, or Ham, or Lasagna, or Ziti, or whatever (10 alternative Thanksgiving Dinners. Yikes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/20/thanksgiving-alternatives-break-tradition_n_6182010.html.)
If you are a guest, deal with it and keep your petty concerns to yourself!
Dinner is a 2pm! Glad you could make it!.....uh…
Whoa, I went Biblical there……anyway.
The most distressing thing about my “friend’s” post was the blasé attitude that they had regarding being thankful and the subtle inference that “Thanksgiving is the day we are thankful for family!”
Now I love my family. They drive me crazy at times and disappoint and frustrate me continually so I can understand where this attitude may arise from. For instance, My son, Brennan, is extremely bright but has somewhat of an anti-authoritarian streak in him and chose today to misbehave in school so on the cusp of the holiday where we are supposed to gather together and be thankful (for Family!) I have to address a discipline problem. At the time I most want to reflect on how much I have in regards to family, I just had to remind myself how “blessed” I am with wild teenagers!
(Actually, my kids are not perfect but they could be far worse. Truth is they are bright, obedient, healthy, humorous, and “good” kids. )
So I get it. Family is the original F word but we must remind ourselves of another word that begins with F: Funeral. My wife, Michele, had similar complaints regarding her parents, Arthur and Mary, and how they drove her crazy. Although divorced and living separate lives for over 40 years, Mary and Arthur both died within 6 months of each other in 2011. Michele feels the loss of their absence in her life every day, especially during the holidays.
So although family may drive you crazy, if you have some that you can spend the day with be thankful. When you look at the faces gathered around your table, know that one day their chair will be empty and they will be gone from your life forever.
For fun make a list of those you would like to see gone first!
Okay, being thankful for family can be a big part of the holiday but it is not the only thing you can be thankful for. We can be thankful for so many things in our lives: like our friends, our livelihood, our pets, our health, etc. I was going to share a link to a list of things to be thankful for but I will not subject you to some of the saccharine delights I saw (“Big piles of leaves you’re never too old to jump in!” Attention seniors: you may be too old to jump in!).
The bottom line is all about perspective. When approaching Thanksgiving, let’s lose the attitude and try to find gratitude. This world is broken. There is pain, suffering, and death all around us. However, God made the world a beautiful place. We have to take time to stop and look around us and see the beauty. We have to be grateful for the experiences of pleasure that we have known and still enjoy. We should not only do this on a Thursday in November. We should do this continually.
This is going to be the first Thanksgiving that I am not hungover or drunk for since I was a child. Since surrendering myself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I have found the way to change my perspective to one of continual gratitude. I pray every day to the Lord who loves me. I bask in the forgiveness that Jesus paid for with his life and live to honor and glorify Him. I am not perfect and need to reorient myself to this perspective quite often but as I walk further in this journey with Christ, I don’t have to go as far to get back on track.
So, what am I thankful for? I am thankful for every person, place and thing that was part of the journey that led me to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Our lives are journeys. If you have known love in this world, you have much to be thankful for. Be thankful for what you have and for those you love.
If you want to know love like no other, pray for Jesus to come into your life and be your Lord and Savior.
John 3:16-17: 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who reads this. Thank you to all my friends, family, loved ones, and acquaintances for being part of my journey!