by: Mt. Calvary Admin
Pause for a moment and look at your calendar for November. Are you looking at it? What are the major holidays of this month? No doubt you’ve got the last Thursday of the month circled in fat red marker. You may even have the turkey in the freezer and the pumpkin pie filling in the pantry. Of course, I’m talking about Thanksgiving Day.
There are a couple of other days that I want you to circle as well. November 11th is the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, which was mistakenly called “the war to end all wars.” We’ve morphed that day into a day to honor all men and women who wore the uniform of our nation at any time; we call these people “veterans” and we devote this day to them.
Also, circle November 1. It’s a day that is special to the Church because we choose that day to remember all the faithful followers of Jesus who have now fallen asleep. They are, as Revelation 7:14 says, “the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
These three circles on your calendar all point to a common theme: thankfulness. We are thankful for the people who shared their witness with us, for those who gave some time to defend our nation, and for all the good gifts that God gives from His creation to us.
With this in mind this year, add another level to your Thanksgiving observation. Here are three suggestions that I have for you:
1. Spend some time writing down and sharing what you are thankful for. Maybe this was your tradition on Thanksgiving Day and it’s been pushed to the back burner because the NFL games start earlier and earlier. Pause the game on your DVR (you can fast-forward through the commercials that way) and spend some time sharing what you are thankful for. As you do this really listen to what’s on your list and others. Here’s what you’ll notice: Most people are thankful for the shadows, not the substance. That is, most of us are more thankful for the gifts that God gives than we are for the God who gives the gifts. This can be an excellent time to give a witness for more than the WHAT but the WHO.
2. Inclusive dinner. One of the things that I always remember about Thanksgiving and Christmas in our family was that there were always people who weren’t family at our tables. My grandparents owned a tavern and, invariably, someone would mention that they had no place to go for the holiday. Without hesitation, my grandparents would invite them to join the family for our meal. There were some people that joined us every year and they became like an extended family. Keep your ears open in your community; are there people who are going to be alone for Thanksgiving? Step out on a limb and invite them to join you (with the above sharing of blessings perhaps) as a way to introduce people to Jesus simply by following His example of love for neighbor.
3. Party time. Maybe the Thanksgiving Dinner too sacrosanct to invite people who aren’t family; it’s a huge step to take. If that worries you, try this instead. The weekend following Thanksgiving is going to have all the following: plenty of food from Thursday, sports on television Friday and Saturday, and people who will be shopping at 4am to save 10% on a microwave. This sounds like a great excuse to have a party. Shopping widowers, throw together some turkey sandwiches, invite other widowers to your house and watch football together. Football widows, host a gathering on Saturday where everyone brings their “best-overs,” the greatest dishes from Thursday, to show off their cooking skills. Whatever the excuse, Jesus was a huge fan having dinner with anyone and everyone and we would do well to follow His example.
A great way to show your thankfulness for what God has given is to celebrate those gifts with others. These are just some ideas to get you started. Give them a try; I would love to hear and share the stories of what happened.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:29