I love a good preacher joke. This morning I read one I had never heard before. It goes as following:
A farmer was showing his pastor a plot of ground he had spent the last year cultivating from a patch of tangled briars and weeds into a beautiful garden. The pastor commented on what a wonderful work God had done. The farmer replied, “Reverend, you should have seen it when God had it all to himself.”
I found this one in an article titled: “Choosing Thanksgiving over Thanksfeeling.” The author went on to explain how most Americans have no idea why we celebrate Thanksgiving. According to reports, when asked what Thanksgiving means to them personally, Americans rank “to be thankful” behind “to spend time with the family.” https://www.statista.com/statistics/637971/meaning-of-thanksgiving-according-to-us-consumers/
The point made then is that we are more connected with tangible objects than generic feelings of gratitude. That idea makes sense. We live in a world that points us from feeling to feeling. Maximize the feel good; find ways to avoid or eliminate things that make us feel bad. We are not into things that don’t focus on us, where the Bible approaches it differently and tells us to focus on others. The reason Thanksgiving is not more memorable for more people is that many misunderstand its true nature and significance because it does not focus on self, but God.
The problem is that to give thanks ultimately requires us to acknowledge the existence and relevance of the God to whom we owe such thanks. We won’t celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday by thanking our employers for our jobs or our doctors for our health. There is something spiritual about true thanksgiving. What happens if you are not spiritual or religious? This is a dilemma for secular people. They want the experience of thanksgiving—a sense of gratitude shared with family and friends—without the reality upon which it is based. They want experience apart from reality in other ways as well. Think of the number of lifestyle practices they enter into without considering any of the ramifications of their hasty decisions. They are always disappointed in the outcomes but can’t connect personal responsibility.
The way our culture celebrates Christmas is no different. We wish others Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas under the guise of not wanting to offend other religions, but think deeper, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu neighbors make up less than 6 percent of all Americans. The culture avoids Christ because secular people want the experience of Christmas without the reality of Christ. They want to enjoy the birthday party while ignoring the guest of honor.
As a means to choosing thanksgiving over thanksfeeling start by asking, “Why does God seek our gratitude?” Is it for His ego? Does He need our praise? No, it is only when we recognize how much God has given us by his unmerited favor and to express genuine gratitude for such grace that thankfulness occurs. When we position ourselves as creatures before our Creator with the humility that seeks what we cannot earn but only receive, we then can acknowledge that “every good gift and every perfect gift” is from above. Only then will we be in a position to recognize the very best that God has to give us! https://www.christianheadlines.com/columnists/denison-forum/choosing-thanksgiving-over-thanksfeeling.html
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Serving the Savior,
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