November is here! That means later this month, we will celebrate the most American of holidays, Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is an important holiday. The original purpose of Thanksgiving was to pause and give God thanks for his blessings, especially those blessings that were related to harvest, which is why the holiday is celebrated in late November.
Now that we’ve made it past Halloween, I have no doubt that the endless playing of Christmas music is right around the corner. When you couple this with that fact that retailers started decorating for Christmas after Labor Day, it is a miracle we remember to celebrate Thanksgiving at all!
I want to propose a remedy to this. Long ago, I a swore I would never participate in any of those “Thirty Days of Thanksgiving” postings that have already started popping up on social media. I have several reasons for feeling this way, the most important being that I am not always convinced it is appropriate to share everything with everyone. However, I do think the intentional pause to give thanks is what will stay the temptation to skip right to Christmas. Remember, giving thanks to God is much different than thanking someone for something they did for us. That’s just good manners.
When we are thankful to God, there is always a “for.” There is always something or someone for which we are thanking God. In what remains of November, I want to encourage you to start keeping a list – begin or end each day with a prayer of thanksgiving. “Lord, today I thank you for __________________________.” It’s up to you to make that list as short or as long as you like.
Thanksgiving is a very important discipline. Thanksgiving keeps us humble, because the more we thank God for, the more we realize we have more and more to thank God for! This, in turn, keeps us more mindful of God’s presence in our lives, and who among us does not need that?? Let’s agree to be intentionally thankful each day this month. Let’s agree to not rush the holidays and pass over this all-important day that can teach us so much. Let’s agree to look for what God is doing among us and give him praise and thanks!
Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
for the Lord is good;
his love endures forever (Jeremiah 33:11b)