Grace and Peace to you!
Thanksgiving, in a lot of people’s minds, is the beginning of the holiday season. When do most people put up their Christmas trees? The day after Thanksgiving. When do a lot of people shop for Christmas? The day after Thanksgiving – which has often been referred to as Black Friday (which has begun even earlier this year due to COVID-19). And let’s not forget the recent trend of online shopping on Cyber-Monday following the Thanksgiving Day weekend. When do you begin to see a lot of Christmas commercials and Christmas movies and hear Christmas music? Right around Thanksgiving – or even longer on the Hallmark Channel. For many people, Thanksgiving serves as a “green-light” to go ahead and get into the Christmas spirit.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with getting ready to celebrate the Savior’s birth as well as enjoying all the other secular aspects of Christmas. But it’s important to see that Thanksgiving is not just the starting gate for Christmas. Nor is it just the day to fill up with so much turkey and pumpkin pie that you have trouble moving around the rest of the day. Nor is it just a day to be with family. It is a day in which we are specifically reminded of all the blessings God has given us.
Throughout scripture we see that our God is a God of abundance, not a God of scarcity. For example, as God called Moses to lead the Children of Israel through the wilderness to the Promised Land, God fed them with manna and quail, brought them water out of solid rock, caused their clothes and shoes to never wear out, and covered them with a cloud to protect them from the sun as they traveled.
God was leading them to a land of abundance, a land for the raising of both crops and livestock. The hills in the Promised Land contained all the minerals that they needed to produce farm implements and armor. In this land the people would lack no good thing. God wanted the very best for his people.
The Promised Land that the Lord was leading the Children of Israel to is a great deal like the land God has given us. We too have been blessed with a rich land that is overflowing with good things. God has blessed us abundantly.
In scripture we read of how God was the God of Israel in good times as well as not-so-good times. God provided them with all the things they needed to enjoy life and be successful, productive, and happy.
God has also given us much. Our God gifts us with the means for us to produce for ourselves food and homes and everything we have. As we see what the Lord has done, we thank and praise the Lord. We give thanks for all of our many blessings, not just on the fourth Thursday of November, but every day.
This Thanksgiving, I would hope that the day is not just another holiday for you. I also hope that you don’t just watch football or only eat until you’ve had your fill. I encourage you to also spend some time to think on all that God has done for you. Because when you do, you will see how much you have been blessed. May your life be a perpetual thank offering to the Lord.
6Therefore keep the commandments of the Lord your God, by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 7For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills,
17Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” 18But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.
Deuteronomy 8:6-7, 17-18 (NRSV)