What will your thanks give?

Published 11:02 am Monday, November 24, 2008

What is it we do on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day? Well, of course, we give thanks, and this is as it should be. There is, I think, more to Thanksgiving. We will observe Thanksgiving by giving thanks, but we fulfill it when our thanks itself gives.

The American pilgrims set the precedent and pattern for the annual Thanksgiving when they consciously thanked God for his goodness to them. They had left Europe in order to live where they could worship God and live as believers, as they were convinced the Bible teaches.

These immigrants gave God thanks that crops had grown and were now harvested, to be sure. We take pleasure in seeing the customary pictures of tables under the autumn sun loaded with all manner of foods. These are, of course, romantic depictions and not contemporary photographs. I suspect however ample they felt the tables to be, they were plainer and more Spartan than we like to imagine. We do much better than they, because we have much more.

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In point of fact, it is this very conspicuous material abundance that often destroys the spirit of thanksgiving. We may pray piously, “Thank you, Lord, for the bounty we are about to receive…, but the way we then talk about the spread sounds more boastful than grateful.

Some people with very little are grateful for everything. They see things in better perspective.

To the extent historical accounts are accurate, it might be the real thanksgiving that first harvest time was their invitation to the earlier inhabitants (American Indians, if you will) to join in the meal. It is what their thanks gave to their neighbors that most validly demonstrates their thanks. They received, they gave thanks, and their thanks gave.

What could be more thanksgiving than to invite into our homes those whose own tables would be bare? Reasonably in lieu of this, many have given food stuffs or money to such as the Salvation Army to provide meals for those in need. If feasible, inviting the needy into our homes would nourish them with something yet more precious than food.

I am impressed more people are in greater need of our company and love than of food. Those who by their circumstances are lonely become lonely beyond measure during holidays. Just to include them in our family for the day might be the best thing we can give them.

However much food we might give our company, we haven’t given much until we have given ourselves to them. This is our thanks giving.

Remember the joy you experience when you give something to one of your children and he or she then shares it with siblings. The thanks this one gives you is what his thanks gives to others. So it is our Heavenly Father is pleased with what our thanks to him gives to his other children.

Genuine thanks gives gladly of itself. This Thanksgiving, what will your thanks give?