Thursday, November 24, 2011

why thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and how without it we're doomed

The clearest family traditions we have are connected with Thanksgiving. It started before I was even born. Legend has it that Grandma's stove wasn't working one year, so the family went out for a big buffet breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. That breakfast-in-a-pinch went over so well that it became a fixture in my extended family. We'd eat out, go to church together, and then hurry home to cook turkey dinner.

Since our marriage 13 years ago, Danny and I have not been part of a church that offered a Thanksgiving Day service (a real pity ... that was my favorite service of the year as a child!). So we have our own 'service' of sorts. We eat out, read Psalm 100 and Deuteronomy 8, and make a list of all the things for which we are thankful, focusing on the past year. The list goes in our scrapbook, and the scriptures are impressed upon our hearts. This year, since we are far from family, we took advantage of a free community thanksgiving dinner at the church we've been attending, Parkview Community Church. I'm guessing if we could poll my cousins, that a good number of them ate out this morning, too. Traditions have a powerful hold on us!

What is so important about thanksgiving? Why are we doomed without it?

The answer is found where most of the Bible's most important theology can be found: Deuteronomy. (Yes, Dr. Block is rubbing off on me!)

"When you eat and are full, praise Yahweh, your God, for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you don't forget Yahweh, your God, by failing to keep His command - the ordinances and statutes - I am giving you today. When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your heards and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn't become proud and you forget Yahweh your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. . . .You may say to yourself, 'My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,' but remember that Yahweh your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm His covenant He swore to your fathers, as it is today. If you ever forget Yahweh your God and go after other gods to worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will perish. Like the nations Yahweh is about to destroy before you, you will perish if you do not obey Yahweh, your God."  Deuteronomy 8:10-20, selections

It is so tempting to think that we deserve whatever wealth, intelligence, beauty, popularity, and success we enjoy. That's the most dangerous lie we can believe. Whatever we have, and whoever we become is sheer gift. There is no room in God's kingdom for a 'self-made man' (or woman!).

I'm grateful for all of you who spend precious moments of your day to read my blog and encourage me on this journey. You are among the many blessings God has given me.

So eat until you're satisfied. And then ... remember. Remember where these good gifts came from, thank the Giver, and then live like you mean it.

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