I miss celebrating Thanksgiving twice a year! From 1995 to 2004 I helped and taught at the Venture Teams Training Camp in Alberta, Canada and almost every year managed to schedule those 10 day trips to include the second Monday of October – Canadian Thanksgiving. Then, the end of November, we had Thanksgiving American style. (Lois enjoyed that with me in 2001when Kari was a VTI team member.)
I’ve often wondered if, as Christ followers, we need to celebrate Thanksgiving more often. Not necessarily the way it’s done the end of November (or the second Monday of October) but at a different time and with more intent to move away from the idolatry of Thanksgiving. Consider the implications of the idols we celebrate now by looking at our priorities: Family, food, football, and shopping.
The way we spend our time, energy and money is very revealing and should cause us to stop and ask if we have allowed idols to creep in and spring up. Like you, I have already seen the blog and facebook posts about being thankful for our freedom, churches, homes, etc., and I agree we should give thanks for that. And, I also think we should be thankful for our families, the sagging tables of food, the relaxation of watching and/or playing football and maybe even for shopping. But let’s be careful to direct our most effusive and heartfelt thanksgiving for God. He is the object of our gratefulness. He alone is worthy of praise and honor and glory and power.
We are reminded that God has poured out on us His mercy –forgiveness we could never earn and which none of us ever deserves; His grace which knows no end and ultimately provides us with families and food and homes. James teaches us that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17)
In Hebrews 12:28-29 we read, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our "God is a consuming fire.”” No New Testament writer refers to the Old Testament without purpose so we are compelled to look at Deuteronomy 4:23-24, “Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
In our Thanksgiving we must be careful to deal with the idols that so easily crowd out the supreme object of our worship: God.
I am grateful for all those who have sent greetings encouraging me. I’ve received text messages, emails, Facebook notes and phone calls from many who are rightfully concerned about this Thanksgiving as the first holiday without Lois. I’m certain her absence will be felt more acutely than I am prepared for. In the middle of family, food and football the greatest priority will be keeping the eyes of my heart and mind centered on the Worthy One.