This is a week to kick up your #blessed game a couple turkey legs.
All lawful feasts are Christian feasts. That’s because unbelievers always feast for wrong or at best deficient reasons. They feast because they like food, which is fine, but Who made them to like food and Who provided it for them? They feast because they like family, or they like the nostalgic idea of family, but how can they know what a family is for?
Christians know the Father and His Son. Christians have God’s Spirit who turns the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Christians know that farmers do a lot of work and that no farmer has ever made a potato or a pumpkin or a turkey grow on his own. God gives growth. God gives us all these gifts, food and family and forks and plates and tables and chairs and wine and pie.
I am not exhorting you to post a picture with the appropriate hashtag for every gift; you don’t have the mental bandwidth (even if you have an unlimited data plan) and it would be annoying and it’s not a biblical, conscience-binding law. It is biblical law to “give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). Maybe you could imagine that you had a oversized roll of #blessed stickers, and you could put one on everything you see this week that reminds you of Your Father’s kindness. Would that cause others to see something different in your Thanksgiving feast? Can you act in such a way that they would see the same difference but without the stickers?
When we are tempted to lose heart we go back to the gospel. When we are afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down we know it is nothing new. We believe, we speak, and we know “that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us…into his presence.” This is an appropriate way to envision our future because it is based on His promise. Our future resurrection doesn’t depend on a dream, it depends on Easter.
So we spend our lives for others as representatives of the Lord who died so that we might live. As Paul said, “It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God.”
Here is a challenge for this holiday season. Do not be only thankful, but extend grace (by dying) so that others are made more thankful. If we are growing up in Christ then not only will we see His blessings more clearly we will also be a blessing to others more consistently.
The grace we extend, the grace we slosh from our clay pots, is grace we have been given by God lavishly. Whoever believes in Jesus, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
The hardest part about Thanksgiving is actually being thankful. It is much easier to imagine ourselves being thankful than it is to be thankful. When we imagine sitting down to dinner on Thursday, we imagine that everyone got a good night of sleep, that everyone is getting along, that everyone fully appreciates all the work that everyone else is doing, and that the turkey is hot and moist and done just when Martha Stewart promised. Coordinating all of that to work together perfectly only works in the editing room of the Hallmark channel.
Future gratitude always hits the mark because it doesn’t require real work. We are all great visionaries when it comes to our behavior in certain circumstances, especially when we get to pretend the circumstances, too. We are rarely realists about circumstances and hardly ever realists about how stridently we demand that those around us get their lines right before we will step out of the dressing room. We are gratitude divas.
Today is the day of thankfulness, and Thursday is as well, even when the rolls won’t be finished for another ten minutes and the three year old fidgets with her silverware during your bumptious devotional about the pilgrims. Be thankful now for what God has given and those He has given and where He has you. If you cannot be thankful now, then a dream of your future thanks may be just that, a dream.