That time of year is upon us.
Political signs are coming down, decorations are going up soon, and Costco is being stocked with Christmas supplies (Ok, Costco was stocked with Christmas items in August). Yes, yes, the nation’s eye is turning from the election to Thanksgiving, and quite frankly, I’m glad that this is our focus now.
Thanksgiving provides us the space to come together. Thanksgiving brings the opportunity for a momentary chance of peace in our lives. Granted, many meals will turn into awkward moments with distant family members and overcooked Turkey nearly catching on fire (stay tuned for my upcoming post on how to deal with those), but Thanksgiving at least brings about the chance for a fresh start. It brings about the possibility for reconciliation among different people. And it bring the chance to thank God for his constant (yet often overlooked) life-giving favor.
President Abraham Lincoln once reminded the nation torn apart by Civil War that we ought to give God praise for, “these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.” In addition to the bounties, “others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”
I think Lincoln was right. I’m thankful that the sun rises and the suns sets, even when I neglect to remember the Maker of it all. As I’ve mentioned before and I’ll mention again, I am prone to wander, and prone to forget. That’s why I need days like Thanksgiving to make me recall his many blessings on my life.
The idea of a holiday for remembering something is not new. Ancient Israel had feast days that caused the nation to pause and remember the acts of God. Passover and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) are two such feasts that would call the nation to their history. They would call them back to their shared story and challenge them to remember and relive the mighty acts of God in their history.
Might this Thanksgiving be a reminder that God and God alone is the source of blessing, even when we neglect to remember him. He is the source, not a political candidate or idea.
Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all of your mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.