Last night I woke up not feeling too well, so I did what I always do when I can’t sleep – I listen to podcasts. Focusing on the words helps me forget my sleeplessness and often this works. Last night I was listening to a food podcast and several chefs were calling in and saying “Happy Thanksgiving” to everyone. But one chef’s comment jumped out at me (well, as much as you can jump while attempting to go back to sleep.)
He said something like this (not exact words) – “I came from a country where they do not celebrate Thanksgiving … or eat turkey. When I first came to America, I quickly discovered that everyone eats a tasteless bird one day a year because they are thankful, but no one could explain to me why or to whom all this thanks was going toward.”
Then another one said that Thanksgiving is wonderful because it is “the most secular holiday.” No matter what your religion, most people sit down and eat the same food.
At this point, I fortunately went back to sleep because it was all rather disheartening.
But it brought up question I’ve been wondering about for years – Whom DO people thank at Thanksgiving?
A Christ-followers we would of course, say God and that is true for most of us. We spend the morning chaotically cooking and the afternoon watching football games, but there is an underlying knowledge that this is a day to show gratitude for all the Lord has done for us. We start the meal by praying and sometimes even go around the table having everyone say something for which they’re especially thankful.
But so many people don’t have the privilege of thanking the Lord, and indeed, they don’t want to. If it’s a purely secular holiday because everyone eats the same food, there is no room for true thankfulness to God and it’s truly JUST about the food.
Sure, some people thank each other, “Thanks for being a good wife, a good parent, a good kid. Thanks for getting me a dog, for working so hard so we can live in this beautiful home.”
Others don’t bother to thank anyone or have had a bad year and can’t even think of anything for which to be thankful.
I think of Thanksgiving scenes we see in movies and TV and although some do start the meal with a sincere prayer of thanks to God, many simply sit down and start eating. I think of the foreign chef who could not find an American who could explain whom everyone was thanking. I think of all the little kids who are growing up in a thankless world … and are not even getting the history lessons in school about the first Thanksgiving and Harvest Feast.
Thanksgiving is a noun. You don’t have to do much with nouns – they just sit there. But “thanks” is a verb and verbs require action.
The Lord tells us: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)
This Thanksgiving, let’s put some action behind our thanks.
Let’s teach our kids what we mean when we give thanks to God.
Let’s teach our kids that thankfulness to God is something we should do every day.
Let’s show our kids how thankful we are to the Lord.
Let’s be thankful that we KNOW to whom we give thanks … our Heavenly Father.
Let’s be thankful to the Lord for our families and friends.
Let’s be thankful for the food in front of us. (Actually I love turkey.)
And let’s tell others that we DO have Someone to thank this Thanksgiving and share His love with them.