Thanksgiving is a way of life
I saw a sign the other day that said Thanksgiving is not a day but a lifestyle. At one level, it’s an accurate statement. We’re driving through the fields of the Palouse on our way to Portland to spend time with our son and his wife. The skies are blue, the landscape is open, the dog is lounging in the back seat enjoying being with us, and Robin and I are enjoying the ride together. We’re looking forward to eating lunch at the Mercantile just north of the Tri-Cities. We have much to be thankful for, and we try to remember to express our thankfulness to the Lord on a day-to-day basis.
On the other hand, it’s nice to have specific days to remind us to be thankful. We need cycles in our lives, so these days come on a regular basis, and they help us develop positive habits like being thankful. And since Thanksgiving is my personal favorite holiday, I look forward to it every year. In fact, several years ago, I started a Mounce tradition called the Turkey Box. It’s a chance for me to give presents to my family under the one condition that they don’t give me anything back. There’s something special about giving without any expectation of return.
So Hayden gets a fishing reel, Shiloh gets lamps for her plants, Kiersten gets an electronic coffee mug, not sure what I will get for Tyler and Rachel, but I can’t share what I got Robin because she’s driving next to me.
When I reflect on Thanksgiving as a lifestyle, and also the holiday of Thanksgiving, it reminds me of all the verses in the Bible that call us to be thankful. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Col 3;15). “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Col 4:2). “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:18).
But that last verse reminds me of an equally important truth. People will often use the word “bless” when good things come their way, but sometimes God’s blessings come in the form of pain or disappointment or sadness. All of these can be different ways in which God is blessing us for our spiritual growth, and for which we should be thankful. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4; also Rom 5:3–5).
Spokane had terrible fires this summer that devastated many neighborhoods. We have friends who lost almost everything. They were fishing out on the lake when they saw the flames appear without warning. Steve and Kathy barely had time to grab a few guns and a few pictures, losing everything else including their house. Yet when Robin spent time with them, they were quick to express their thankfulness for the Lord's protection by getting them out 10 minutes before the fires hit.
Yes, we need specific days to remind us to be thankful for all that the Lord does. Perhaps most importantly, those days remind us to adopt a thankful attitude throughout all the days of our lives. They remind us to have a thankful way of life.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone from your friends at BiblicalTraining.org