Dan Mielke: Thanking God this Thanksgiving

Published 5:22 pm Friday, November 26, 2021

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I am sure many of you have fond memories of Thanksgiving dinner.  One of my fondest memories was hearing my grandfather’s anticipated one-liner defining Thanksgiving.  “Thanksgiving is when one species ceases to gobble and another one begins.” 

Everyone gathered around the table would give a courtesy laugh and then begin to gobble.  Often times we need to stop and be reminded that  Thanksgiving is more than turkey and stuffing, yet I wonder if we should be more thankful for a chance to gobble? 

Have you ever been thankful for what food was doing before it met you?  One reason that we gobble at Thanksgiving is that food works.  Food did its job of growing.  Long before it met you, food was doing the job it was created to do.

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Have you ever thought about the incredible complexity that goes into one bite of turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes? It is amazing to think about the incredible amount of interdependence God has put into this world. The food on your plate started out in latent form in an ungerminated seed which needed the right ingredients of soil, depth, water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide. Once all of the right factors came together, the plant was able to convert energy and store that energy into stable form waiting to be fed to the turkey whose digestive track was able to break down the energy units into usable pieces through cellular respiration. Once the food was broken down, the turkey’s other systems were able to do their job allowing the turkey to continue to grow to a nice table sized entrée.

Have you ever been thankful that food works with your system? After the multitude of complex systems do their work flawlessly, we can be thankful that the food is compatibility with our bodies.  Some foods are inherently incompatible (see toxic mushrooms). Others are compatible with modification.  After all the interconnected systems provide the raw material for a turkey, humans can modify the raw carcass of an animal by altering the temperature and adding other ingredients or minerals to make it delectable.

Have you ever been thankful that food is enjoyable? God made food enjoyable. That is why holiday fair often does not center around unseasoned tofu. It is technically compatible, but the majority of Americans would not place the flavor on par with turkey smothered in gravy.  The simple fact that God created that forkful to be both compatible and enjoyable is truly something to thank Him for.  Not only did He make it enjoyable, God also gave us receptors to enjoy and experience the variety of flavors simultaneously.

Not only did God make food work, compatible and enjoyable, he also interwove enjoyment with dependence. Have you ever thanked God for the fact that you and I are dependent on food? Every time humans sit down for a meal, they are acknowledging their dependence and admitting that without food, they could not continue to exist. Isn’t that exactly like the Heavenly Father to interweave a daily reminder of joy and dependence?

This Thanksgiving I hope and pray that you were able to thank God for the fact that food worked, it is compatible, enjoyable, and acknowledge your dependence and Thanksgiving for the gift of food.