So, let’s just cut to the chase…move over Thanksgiving, here comes Christmas! Not to say that we’re not excited to celebrate our LORD and Savior, Jesus’ birth, but can we just press the pause button a moment beforehand to reflect on and give thanks for God’s bountiful blessings this year?
Here it is the beginning of November and retailers are with lightning speed clearing out and slashing prices on Halloween and Thanksgiving items, which share aisle space, in order to make room for all the commercialized explosion of Christmas stuff that will inundate their stores. Already, the turkey and cornucopia paper plates and napkins have been reduced to 70%! Amazon has had their blowout Prime Days and Black Friday Christmas previews now begin prior to Thanksgiving. Top it off with COVID 19 third wave positive spikes and an intense election year and Thanksgiving 2020 is beginning to look more like part of the “cancel culture.” To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, “Thanksgiving just can’t get no respect”.
Why even should we give Thanksgiving it’s due? God’s provision and survival is a good starting place. Historically, the first Thanksgiving can be traced back to 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and Native American Indians celebrated a successful harvest and the fact that those colonists in attendance had survived New England’s harsh winter as well as the epidemic that tragically took the lives of 78% of the women that first year. Included with the feasting were games and military exercises that lasted three days. Prayers of thanks were given both before and after each meal. That “attitude of gratitude” was evident with both cultures present. That first Thanksgiving, even with all the hardships, left much to reflect on and give thanks for. Many years later, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the day of Thanksgiving an official, annual, and national holiday celebrated on the final Thursday each November. And the rest is Thanksgiving history.
I know for Bay Countians, it can be particularly challenging to try and look for the good and thankfulness after living these past 2 years in the aftermath of a Cat 5 hurricane and now an ongoing world-wide pandemic. But God’s Word, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, reminds us to “give thanks in all circumstances”, not just “some” circumstances or when everything is sweet-smelling and rosy. Have you driven around our community lately to see the regrowth, rebuilding and reopening taking place? Look around you and perhaps that little tune will come to mind…”Count your blessings, name them one by one”…family, friends, health, churches, schools, hospitals, first responders, law enforcement, social service agencies, skilled laborers, service workers, business owners, volunteers, etc. How many people touched your life this past year? How were you blessed by the kindness and love of others? Who would you sit down right now and write a thank you card to?
We are reminded daily that there truly is thankfulness to be found even in the brokenness. “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) One just has to look through the pieces to envision the good that was, is, and is to come and rest assured that GOD was, is, and always will love us and be merciful and faithful to us without end! Thank GOD He is!
So, despite all the unforeseen challenges and hardships you may have faced this year, please don’t skip over giving thanks during this Thanksgiving season. Why? “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!” (1 Chronicles 16:34).
Now, just go right ahead and pull out that cornucopia and those turkey napkins!
Written by Glenda Delmar