Growing up, and still to this day, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. In my mind’s eye are captured countless memories gathered around the table, laughing & sharing stories, tossing the football in the backyard with my cousins, or waking up from an unexpected turkey-induced nap surrounded by my sisters – their eyes sleep-filled and minds refreshed just like mine.
Thanksgiving visits to my grandparent’s farm rise to the top of the list of my most treasured times. I have fond memories of racing through the fields breathlessly until we collapsed in a pile on the hay, only long enough to think of our next adventure – playing hide and seek in the dusty corners of the barn – or helping in the kitchen to bake up some goodness that would be shared later. The biggest lesson I learned at my grandparent’s house? Everything good multiplies when it is shared. When we share with those around us – our closest loved ones or strangers-turned-friends – our joy increases, our kindness becomes exponential, and our gratefulness grows.
I think a big reason why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday is because our family can just be together, without agenda. Each of us brings no gift but the gift of ourselves, and the only task is to enjoy each other. What purity & clarity of space together!
Jesus wants the same in our coming to him – to just BE together. We are invited to enter a place of intimacy with Christ in times of our deepest need & greatest joy; in our brokenness and our gratefulness we find ourselves immediately at the feet of Jesus. Psalm 100:4 shares this invitation, “You will enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” There is such comfort in coming to him and being where he is as we acknowledge that everything we have is his and that we are his – “for from him and through him and for him are all things” (Romans 11:36) and “in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28).
The Thanksgiving season has a way of reminding me, as James 1:17 states “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” My increased awareness of the Lord’s faithfulness & goodness, and my response to him, makes me want to celebrate Thanksgiving in every part of the year – spreading this spirit into the dark of winter and the heat of summer. One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes shares this sentiment in saying “gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this!’ One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.” May our focus ever increasingly be one of gratitude to our great God.
Questions to consider:
Do you have a tradition to express thankfulness in your family? How does that bring you into a deeper level of being together & being with the Lord?
How can you share what you are most thankful for with those who might need a reason to be thankful?
Can you think of a way you have seen a good thing multiply when you shared it with someone else?