Choosing to Be Thankful
"I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now." Philippians 1:3-5
Only 27 more days until Thanksgiving! That phrase can strike panic into our already stressed-out lives. I hope that is not the case for you this year- but it can be. The cleaning, shopping, cooking and preparation for family coming in for the day or traveling to a celebration through crowded airports or packed interstate highways, can produce anything but gratitude. One of my favorite movies is the comedy "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (which I watch every November) about two very different men thrown together and trying to get home for Thanksgiving. Maybe going home is your destination this year or maybe your house is the "home" where everyone is heading. Either way, I hope you can take the time to express your thanks for God's goodness to you all year and express your love to the people in your life who make you complete, as St. Paul did to the people in Philippi. We need to always remember the origin story of this holiday, even if we repeat it like a Christmas tradition each year. . . the English Separatists who came to this land started their journey in plenty of time to plant a crop and harvest before the winter, they knew to do this. They left Plymouth, England on the large ship "Speedwell" but had to return to port because of problems with the ship. Having to change to a smaller ship and bad weather at sea, put them weeks behind and in Massachusetts instead of warmer, Virginia. They lost all but 53 of the 102 original pilgrims due to illness and starvation in the first six months. In the summer a crop was harvested and the date to commemorate their arrival came between September and November. A day of mourning was suggested. But the Governor, William Bradford and others insisted on a day of thanksgiving for surviving such a difficult ordeal. We know the story of Squanto teaching them to plant corn, beans and squash and the Wampanoag people celebrating with them. So, the legacy of Thanksgiving Day is gratitude and celebration for the blessings of God, not mourning and regret over life's woes. With that said, there may be someone you know that has had a difficult loss in the past year or so. This would be a great time for you to reach out to them and invite them to your table and perhaps ease their pain and loneliness, there will probably be plenty for everyone. May God bless you as you prepare or travel to celebrate his goodness and provisions and another year as his child!
Grace and peace,