If any culinary presentation is deserving of a blue ribbon, none is more so than the Thanksgiving Feast. Not the burger, shake and fries. Not a steak dinner. No sir. Art has its Mona Lisa. Auto racing has its Indy 500. Music has Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. And Hollywood the Oscars, but far and away the grand champion in food to be had is our Thanksgiving Meal. A Masterpiece. Turkey done just right. Mashed potatoes, dressing, cranberry sauce, rolls and green beans; it may just be the meal of perfection. Subtract one element, it would be incomplete. One additional element may just tip the scales to disaster, like an extra quart of fuchsia on the Mona Lisa, or 3 more miles on the Indy 500 (“The Indy 503”?). Surely the clear and distinct winner among rationally minded carnivores is this traditional holiday fare. Right?
Okay…maybe Thursday my words will be challenged, or affirmed, but in any case, most families will come together and minimally savor the savorable. Families will greet one another. Conversations will ensue. Televisions will broadcast the favorite games and parades. What a great tradition we have developed over the years. Or should I say “had” developed?
It seems that in the apparent hustle and bustle of the last century one seemingly important element which has been deleted from the day is recognition of God. Sure, we use words like “thankfulness,” “appreciation,” and “gratitude,” but our revisionist culture has all but removed the object of our thankfulness – God! If we are thankful, doesn’t that imply a recipient? Is there not an individual to whom that “thanks” should be directed?
Look up the definition of Thanksgiving on many secular websites and what you will see is that Thanksgiving is a day of celebration for a “good harvest,” but recognition to God for His abundance is being written out of the equation. Our history books talk about pilgrims, Indians, and eating, but God has been neglected.
Are we expected to offer up thanks into thin air? No, certainly not. Our thanks require an object – that object is the Lord God, from whom all blessings flow. Psalm 136:1-3 declares, “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Do you see a pattern here?
Twenty-six times in this Psalm, the writer declares that “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” That means we should thank Him because His mercy, His blessing, His kindness is everlasting – there is no end to them.
I reject the notion that this is merely a day of thanks directed at no particular source of that blessing. The one main reason that this meal has come to be a masterpiece of tradition is the acknowledgement of God as the giver of abundance. Other than that, it is just a day of tasty calories.
I hope you were curious about the title of this article, Apposite Thanks. It means thanks which is fitting for the circumstances. What do you have to be thankful this Thanksgiving season? Your health? Your Finances? Your family? Your very Life? Your next breath? Eternal life in Christ? Then give credit to whom credit is due–God; it is all from Him. Nothing is more fitting.
I, for one, thank the Lord this Thanksgiving season for His everlasting kindness.
May I suggest you join me.
And, Bon appétit!
[The Shepherd’s Echo is a previously published TheShepherdsPen]