Thanksgiving makes my heart full and at times heavy, all at the same time.
“Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go…” As a military family we were very familiar with this song, and dutifully got on the road to grandmother’s house. Until one day my husband made this declaration, “We will no longer travel for the holidays. We will stay home and make our own memories.”
Well, there was somewhat of a revolt, mostly by the grandmothers. How dare we not deliver the grandbabies for holidays, especially the ones that involved food. But, you know what? My husband was right. We began to make our own family traditions and Thanksgiving became more than just another holiday with food.
Every Thanksgiving we tried to move our table beyond our family. Meaning we invited single sailors who couldn’t make it home for a Thanksgiving dinner with their own families. We have entertained an entire family from Ukraine and a single dad with 4 kiddos as well. We have bought turkeys en-masse and driven them to a shelter to be cooked and served to the homeless. When our Dufflings were old enough, my husband would take them to the shelter to help serve the meals. This would take place soon after we finished having our delicious dinner in our home.
I think that is the one thing that has impacted our Dufflings the most–serving others right after filling their bellies within arms reach of the family they loved.
Thanksgiving is a huge word with an even wider meaning. Honestly, are we really paying attention to what we are actually thankful for? I know that I am very guilty of not remembering. I am grateful for all that the Lord has granted me as a person, wife, mom, and grammy, but how thankful am I truly?
Does that heart full of gratitude translate into my everyday life? Am I showing others the thankfulness that I really do have? It almost feels wrong to cloud the issue of eating my way through Thanksgiving with having a grateful heart. But, here I am, not being thankful enough.
What about your heart?
When I read scripture, thankfulness is a common theme.
“Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for HE is good.” “I thank God upon every remembrance of you.” “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
I am convinced thankfulness is truly to become the norm for every believer. It is not enough for me to be thankful, I must act thankful. This season of thankfulness is quickly followed by a season of great giving. So, as I prepare to shop until my budget drops, I must remember there is more to the giving, there is the thanking that needs to take place and be seen front and center.
When reading through the Holy Scriptures again, I see a God who has not ceased to give, and literally give beyond it hurting, right up until death.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”
When it feels like I am giving it “all,” trust me when I say, I am not. Right up until the point of pain and then beyond, unto death. Only then have I truly given it all. I can’t just give until it hurts, I must give until I die to myself. My pride, fears, doubts, ungratefulness, all of that that separates me from the heart of God. Until it all dies I am truly unable to be thankful.
So, this Thanksgiving when I sit down to pray and offer up our thanks may I be mindful of my giving. Laying it all down, nailing it all to the Cross, and truly knowing that I have given it all–only then can I truly become thankful.
This is the truth that binds my heart to the only one who can save, redeem, and bring me continually into His presence,
“I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing: Salvation to our God on his Throne! Salvation to the Lamb! All who were standing around the Throne—Angels, Elders, Animals—fell on their faces before the Throne and worshiped God, singing:
Oh, Yes! The blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving,
The honor and power and strength,
To our God forever and ever and ever!
Oh, Yes!” Revelation 7:9-12 (MSG)
What a glorious day this will be! Until then we must give thanks!
Happy Thanksgiving! Remember to pace yourself! I look forward to sharing a meal with family and friends, eating sweet potato pie for breakfast, and lots of some soul food dressing!