So, yesterday was Thanksgiving and all. You know, the day when Americans everywhere celebrating being thankful for all their possessions by eating way too much, then decompress by watching grown men being paid millions of dollars to play a sport in tight pants and helmets. Then, just to top it all off, we show how thankful we are for “good deals” on stuff we don’t need (oh, wait, we’re buying other people stuff they don’t need as gifts, so that makes it better). All in the name of gratitude, right? Pardon my cynicism but it’s so interesting that we choose to celebrate gratitude mired in “more.” But that’s not really my point.
What makes Thanksgiving special (aside from your overwhelming love for turkey, like some people I know)? An extended meal-time around the table with family and friends giving thanks for the many things you don’t deserve. Filling your home with people you love and people you’d like to include in that love. Good food and an attitude of celebration, listening to one another’s stories, hearing of blessing and sharing in the glow.
It occurs to me that this is exactly the way followers of Jesus should live everyday. Not necessarily that we should have HUGE meals that no one should actually finish everyday, but you know, the general idea. Thanksgiving should be an opportunity for Christians to welcome others into our lifestyle. A lifestyle not of gluttony but of celebration, of family, of shared meals and time and above all, a poster of gratitude.
But, I wonder how many of us actually live such lives on a daily basis? We so easily get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent, we get distracted by the details of life and we forget that we’ve been given life abundantly (John 10:10), we’ve been given easy easy yokes and light burdens (Matthew 11:30) and that we, of all people, ought to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22) because, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6), making His enemies His children (Romans 5:10-11; Galatians 4:6).
How easily we use site of the regular rhythms of life that remind us of our identity in Christ. Thanksgiving should be a window into the life of the Believer rather than an exception to the way we live; a snapshot of lives lived in continual thanksgiving for Jesus.