November 14, 2007

I wrote this 2 years ago and posted it on my MySpace. Since Thanksgiving is here again, I figured I’d post it again: 

I realized a while back that there is a huge difference between being glad that something is the way it is, and being thankful for it being the way it is… I was very glad that my college education was being paid for, saving me from 50 million lifetimes of paying off debt (The Master’s College is HIDEOUSLY expensive), but I was not actually being thankful until I went to my Dad and expressed my gratitude… Being thankful requires acknowledging the source of what you are happy for; it means appreciating the giver, not just the gift…

Pretty simple perhaps, but if you really think about it, it has profound implications for every-day life…. A simple example: It is a beautiful sunny day where I am today – I recognize the beauty of the day, but am I going to move beyond that and acknowledge the goodness and love of God in gifting me with a beautiful day, and beyond that even- with the sun and its warmth (whenever I am blessed to enjoy it), with the beauty of a blue, blue sky, and with the senses to actually take it all in… Examples in all of life are endless…

As you sit around your thanksgiving tables, you might do what my family often does – everyone taking a turn to express, “what I am thankful for”… What would you say you are thankful for? Ask yourself this – are you really thankful for those things, or are you just happy about them? Have you been acknowledging their source, the Giver, or have you just been enjoying the gifts? Have you stopped to thank God? And if so, do you do that day to day?

In modern America the “Thanksgiving holiday” should maybe be called the “what-makes-me-happy” holiday… Thousands of people who don’t acknowledge God will sit around and talk about what they are “thankful” for… but thankful to who???

There IS a Giver of ALL life’s gifts, and He MUST be acknowledged. Don’t just be happy or glad about things. Appreciate the Giver of life’s gifts! God is the source of EVERYTHING good – EVERYTHING! Be thankful for Christ. Be thankful for God’s work in you. Be thankful that He has given you family and friends. Be thankful that He made you with tastebuds that can enjoy good-tasting pecan pie… Thank GOD for EVERYTHING!! 

The scriptures are clear on this point: “… be filled with the Spirit… giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” ~Ephesians 5:18-20

I’m no historian (particularly of American history!), but it seems this was the mindset that lead to Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday. Check out this excerpt from Lincoln’s speech establishing Thanksgiving day: 

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, 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….No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” 

May that be our perspective EVERY day! Let’s thank God for EVERYTHING. From Him, “all blessings flow”… 

Thanks to my brother Skip for the Lincoln quote. God bless… 

~ Donovan 


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