Thanksgiving Day and What it Means to Me

Do you love Thanksgiving Day? I do. I love Thanksgiving Day more than any other holiday. It’s not about decorating. It’s not about presents. It’s not about spending money. Instead, it’s about giving thanks to our precious Lord for His great and manifold blessings unto us and about gathering together with those you love to celebrate His blessings and to enjoy one another’s company and a good meal.

But for all of the joy it brings to me, Thanksgiving Day is a rather poignant day for me. Thanksgiving Day 1997 was the last day I saw my mother alive. It was a good day, the day I like to remember her by. She was in a good mood that day, unhindered by the depression and anger that so often accompanied her visits. We enjoyed her time with us tremendously. I had five young children then, the youngest being 9 months old. Mama spent the day holding the baby and loving on him and giving hugs and kisses to her other grandchildren. A good day but one that dances in my memories with shades of sorrow. Less than three weeks later, she’d be dead.

Thanksgiving Day is also a poignant day to me for other reasons. Overwhelmed by God’s goodness in allowing us such a day of hope, prayers and celebration, I can’t help but think about how blessed we are that we even have food on the table and a roof over our heads; I also can’t help but remember that many don’t. My family has struggled quite a bit for nearly a decade. We’ve done without and made do and sometimes it just hasn’t been enough. Yet with all we’ve gone through and all we do without, I see so many who struggle so much more than we do. In the city we live in it’s common to see the homeless and needy wherever you go. They are everywhere. I know some folks get angry at having someone approach them and ask for help but I just can’t. I can’t help but think that that, but for the grace of God, it could be one of us. Not every homeless person is homeless because they’re a drunk or because they’ve made poor decisions. Sometimes things happen to us that are out of our control. I know; my family has come so close to being homeless ourselves. So when I look into the eyes of a man asking for a dollar for food, I know he could be playing on my sympathies and really wanting it for whiskey but I also know he just might really be hungry. I prefer to err on the side of kindness. I don’t have much to give–we often don’t have enough for ourselves–but if I see someone who is obviously in need and I have anything at all to share, I’m going to. I encourage you to do the same. Sometimes just taking the time to look into their eyes, acknowledging their humanity, treating them with dignity, speaking a kind word to them, praying for them, means more than anything else can. It’s also a good chance to tell them about Jesus, what He did for you and why you care about what happens to them.

Mostly though, Thanksgiving Day is poignant because I have a God to thank for all of His mercies. I have a God Who was willing to lay down His life for me. Nothing I go through, nothing I do without, comes close to what He suffered for me, not just on the cross but in His life. He too knew poverty and trials and because He did, He understands my needs just a little bit keener. Because of Him and His gift of life, of salvation, of freedom and of one more day, we give thanks.

I hope your Thanksgiving Day was good. Ours, though small, was absolutely amazing.

Soli Deo gloria!

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6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Day and What it Means to Me

  1. I too prefer to err on the side of kindness. This is a wonderful post about being thankful and having a heart of gratitude. Thank you for sharing this. I think to live out a life of gratitude in humble submission to Christ and to others truly is to live in His Kingdom here on earth.

    My Thanksgiving post was similar :)

    I’m thankful I have a holy and loving God who came to be with us in the messiness of this world…not just to save us eternally, but to know, experience, understand and be with us in our trials, sufferings, triumphs and joys!

    I am thankful for S******** and that God knows the hearts of His children so much that He, in His love and mercy, allowed our path’s to meet on the narrow road..

    I am thankful for my three daughters, who alone are enough evidence of God’s daily presence and who God has given to me with the awesome and beautiful responsibility to love, protect, shepherd and nurture.

    I am thankful for my mom, S*** and my sister, M****, who I love dearly and who have been by my side in love and support for my whole life.

    I am thankful for my family, uncle, aunts, cousins, niece, nephew, grandma and for the treasured memories of those no longer with us.

    I am thankful for the friends that God has brought into my life, many of who keep me accountable and remind me who I am in Christ. It is my hope and prayer that I may be iron that sharpens iron to them as well.

    I am thankful for my church body and S****’s church body, and for the amazing privilege we have each week to gather, worship and praise our most worthy Jesus and deepen into His Word together.

    I am thankful for God’s providence in allowing me to have my job and blessing me with my colleagues, my team and my boss…and having a job I enjoy that also allows me to put food on the table, a roof over our heads, clothes on our bodies and the resources to be able to do Kingdom work and serve the least of these.

    I am thankful for all of the things, both terrible and good, that God has used to continue to chisel me and make me into the man He needs me to be for His glory, my family and His children.

    Father, I am ever thankful for Your undeserved grace and your unfathomable love. I thank You for the sacrifice of Your perfect and spotless Son, Jesus. I thank You for paying my debt in full and for saving me from myself and the wide road I once traveled and from Your wrath and judgment and for clothing me in Your righteousness. I pray for strong, thankful, childlike faith for my family, my friends and myself through all seasons and storms of this life. Let not my faith-filled heart waiver during the good times and let it not falter during the tribulations. Fill me continually with Your Spirit that You may always be first and that any idols my human heart would create would be destroyed before they are built. Father, be with all of us as we come to You with thankful, humble hearts full of love for You, for each other and for our neighbors and enemies alike. Purge me of myself and let me always be salt and light to all with whom my path crosses…and let them see not me, but let them see the light, heart, hands and feet of Jesus. Thank You more than my inadequate and often selfish words can ever express. I pray all of this in the most beautiful and perfect name of our Lord, Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

    • Matthew, this is beautiful. God’s grace to you is evident in your words of trust and devotion about and to Him. I would love to read your Thanksgiving blog post but don’t know where to find it. How may I find your blog? Thank you for your Christlike example. There are far too few in the world who even care. God bless you and yours~ Anna

  2. The Lord your God sees your need, Anna. He will provide all that you need according to his riches and glory. I know you have been through so much. I have been struggling in my life also. We have talked how we know that God is still in control of everything that we go through. I guess that we must show our trust by standing in faith and not letting fear take us down. It is hard but I truly believe that God is not going to fail us. God bless you, my sister.

    • God never fails, indeed He can never fail. He is always in control and His reasons are always good. Yes, they are sometimes painful but even Christ suffered. One day, we’ll know what He was doing and we’ll rejoice. Until then, we trust. I’m praying for you, my dear sister.

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