Thanksgiving isn’t about Pilgrims with Funny Hats and Big Belt Buckles
by Seth McBee
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Thanksgiving brings to mind many things. Me? I think of:
- Dudes with weird hats and belt buckles having a huge dinner with Native Americans
- Even though I’ve never seen one in person, or have any idea of what it represents, I think of the cornucopia
- Stomach aches
- Family, which also causes stomach aches
Notice that most of these things revolve around a major theme. Me. They are all about what I get out of Thanksgiving. To me, Thanksgiving is a date on a calendar, not a state of being, as we are called to in the Scriptures.
When most of us think of Thanksgiving or the term thanksgiving, we usually think of what we say, or what we think. Rarely, do we think of a life lived that is a giving of thanks.
Imagine if you give a gift to your son or daughter and they say “Thank you” but don’t show that they are thankful by their actions. Instead, they take the gift, don’t utilize it and eventually waste it. How thankful would you honestly think they were?
A new identity
Many of us have done just that with what we’ve been given by God. God has given us a new identity found in Jesus. He no longer sees us as enemies, but instead sees us as sons and daughters with full rights to his throne. Seriously. This is why thanksgiving has always been a mark of the followers of God. No matter what has been given to them, or what has been taken away from them, they know they are mere sojourners and have rights to an eternal Kingdom.
If anyone does a better job at living a life full of thanksgiving, it should cause us alarm.
With the day Thanksgiving coming upon us, let’s take a look at how we can utilize this day, this American holiday to point to the one who gives us ultimate thanksgiving in both our hearts and actions.
Some of these ideas will give insight right away to who people are. Others are a great way to engage others so that you can build relationships with them. Jesus was about relationships and he loved and served others, not for what he could get out of them, but because they were his Dad’s kids and they were made in His image.
Here are some simple ways to do so: