Thanksgiving stirs up thoughts of pilgrims, turkey and pumpkin pie. Maybe for you as well. But is finding God in the holiday possible, too?
Lest we forget, we are encouraged to be thankful, count our blessings, express our gratefulness and show our generosity.
So look at this fourth grader’s report on the first Thanksgiving. The classroom teacher requested students make no reference to God (source unknown).
The pilgrims came here seeking freedom of you know what. When they landed, they gave thanks to you know who. Because of them, we can worship each Sunday you know where.
While Christians remain disturbed about Christmas devoid of God, what about the holiday before the birth of Christ? How do we go about finding God in Thanksgiving and keeping Him there?
Finding God in What We Have
Because the holiday celebrates more than gobbling up turkey.
Look at these meanings for gobble:
- The sound a male turkey makes (Cambridge English Dictionary).
- To swallow or eat hastily or hungrily in large pieces (Dictionary.com).
And some definitions also cite to eat noisily. That’s another article on etiquette. But please try not to do this at the Thanksgiving table.
So to gobble suggests:
- An action without reflection beforehand.
- No careful consideration of the devoured item.
- No gratefulness of where the means derived.
- A general lack of thankfulness for the provision.
To really give thanks, maybe like the first Thanksgiving, we are grateful for our “haves” without begrudging our “have-nots.”
We are thankful for the cornucopia of many blessings received and yet to be given from our Maker. As with the pilgrims, we carry a thankful heart for the place we’ve landed, whatever it looks like for each of us.
Finding God in Provision and Freedom
And we see ample cynicism in society…perhaps in us. There’s a lot of ungrateful gobbling going on. Still, we rise above the negativity when we remember this truth: We always have plenty to be thankful for. It’s finding God in thanksgiving and being thankful to Him.
Yet, sometimes we lose sight of giving thanks for freedoms. And no matter how we have to say it, like in the fourth grader’s report, we do say it, and we carry thankfulness in our heart.
You see, thanksgiving—real thanksgiving in our heart—overflows in gratitude more than one day a year. Instead, we possess a continual gratefulness that defines our lives and our character.
Often a sigh of relief is spoken with, “Thank God!” Maybe we received good news from a medical report or found out our loved one wasn’t hurt in an accident. Wonderful things to give thanks for and about. Not just as a relief that something turned out good in the end. But thanking God, that in the end, we understand all good things come from Him.
Finding God in Our Fullness
So before gobbling up a turkey leg or piece of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, contemplate the fullness in our lives because of a generous God. Then consider how we show ourselves as a generous people. What does it look like in daily life? How is grateful and generous displayed in our communities and in our world?
Generosity helps others, models Jesus, and shows the world true gratefulness and thankfulness. Do we serve the hungry, the homeless and those without basic needs—the “least of these?” (Matthew 25:35-40).
This Thanksgiving season, thank God for fullness of stomach, life, love, family, freedoms and for every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Not only giving thanks on turkey day and in November…giving thanks all year long.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations” Psalm 100:4-5 AMP.