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Thanksgivers Giving Thanksgiving

By: Dr. Skip Myers
Edgefielddaily.com columnist

web posted November 20, 2006

We love food! We not only eat food but we love food. Stop and think about all the things we have so intimately coupled with food. We celebrate birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and graduations with it. It has become one of the central aspects of bereavement and grief. It is a stress relief and a comfort for many.  It no longer serves only to nourish the body and keep it going--we have made eating an event.

The centerpiece of eating holidays is Thanksgiving. The focus of a day originally designed to give thanks has now become a cooked bird surrounded by veggies and pies. The dictionary has somehow avoided making food the centerpiece of this holiday. It defines thanksgiving as “the act of giving thanks; especially to God.” Imagine that, a secular book recognizing the centrality of the Lord before most of His people will.

I am not the great Scrooge of Thanksgiving. I love a good turkey with all the trimmings as much as the next overweight guy. In fact, I have already put my request in for at least one pumpkin pie to go with the pecan pie which goes along with the other pumpkin pie. I love nothing better than the aroma of the holiday filling the house. And then there is that moment when the oven door opens and the bird is revealed—all brown and juicy.

Wait a minute! Do you now see how easy it is to get caught up in the culinary moment of a holiday that was originally designed to turn our lives to the Lord? This subtle diversion away from the Lord truly robs the day of its meaning. Food and family haven’t replaced faith but they do give it a run for its money. There’s nothing wrong with food or family. Both even these gifts are from the Lord. But they cannot become the sole objects of our praise and thanksgiving.

I am truly thankful for one thing and one thing only: the Lord. Everything I have for which I am thankful is an outgrowth of my relationship with Him. I can thank Him all day long for the “things” I have been given and never truly be thankful for the One who has given them. So let me suggest a few verses of scripture that can guide us in giving thanks this Thanksgiving for the One we should be most thankful to and for.

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.  Psalm 9:1-2

Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name.  Psalm 30:4

I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a mighty throng.  Psalm 35:18

It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare You lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night.  Psalm 92:1-2

With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the Lord; and in the midst of many I will praise Him.  Psalm 109:30

Here’s what I get out of these verses. I am to thank the Lord loudly and with enthusiasm.  I am not to be ashamed that I attribute all that I have to Him. I am to thank the Lord for who He is more than I thank Him for what He has given me. These verses tell me to praise Him for who He is and not simply because of what I have been given. It’s easy to thank Him for what I have and not have a truly intimate picture of who He is. But when I have a growing relationship with Him and understand just how awesome He is, that’s when I praise Him for being Lord and Savior. I am to thank Him for who He is in the presence of others. We are never called to have a “private faith” in the Lord. If it’s really faith, it is public faith and one that shouts His praise.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be a thanksgiver this Thanksgiving. Lead those around the table in loud, unashamed praise to the One who not only provides the bird but also gives us life.  Happy Thanksgiving to the Lord Day!

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