Hello everyone, I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that’s where I’d like to begin today, with our celebration of Thanksgiving.
A couple of days before the Thanksgiving holiday I was out shopping. I had to pick up a few things for my home, and there’s a woman, who happens to be a Muslim immigrant, and she works at the store I frequent. Now, let me preface that I visit this store a good bit and when I’m there, if I notice she is working as a cashier, I’ll go through her lane. As a result she’s begun to call me her “young” friend. Some days I don’t feel so young, but I’ll take whatever compliments I can get when it comes to age.
Whenever we see each other we always exchange pleasantries and I’ll ask how she’s doing, etc. On this particular day she was assisting another cashier. We noticed one another and both of us said hello. As the cashier was finishing she asked me if I was ready for Thanksgiving and before I could answer my friend asked me if I celebrated Thanksgiving.
Now, I was a bit taken aback by the question, but I managed to nod and squeezed out a “yes ma’am” for good measure. And then she proceeded to share with me that she doesn’t celebrate it. Her reason was because everyday is ‘thanksgiving’ and giving to the poor should be done every day, not simply one day a year. I shared with her I felt the exact same way and we parted, both smiling and wishing the other a wonderful day. After our brief conversation, as I walked to my car, the Lord told me the reason why we celebrate Thanksgiving here in America and why it must continue to be celebrated regardless of anyone’s religious or cultural background.
Everyone knows the history of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, but has anyone ever asked what made Thanksgiving possible?
Thanksgiving was made possible by grace. No, not the saying of grace or the blessing, but because of God’s grace to be exact. A grace that can only come from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Grace in Hebrew is chen and it means favor. Favor as defined in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is a kind or helpful act that is done for someone.
It was because of God’s kind and helpful act of bringing people and cultures together that the Pilgrims were able to survive the harsh winter and in the new world. And it’s because of God’s amazing kindness and favor that we should remain thankful.
My friend was right when she said we should be thankful everyday. She was right that we should look after the needs of the less fortunate everyday and not simply one day a year. However, where she was wrong is in not celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday.
The holiday, like so many others, has come to mean many things to many people. Some feel it’s a time to gorge ourselves on turkey and then vegetate in front of the TV and watch football. Some believe it’s a time for friends and family to be together. Some believe it’s a day of charity and we should spend time helping the less fortunate. And still others believe you can combine all of the above and mix in a game of backyard football for good measure. The truth is Thanksgiving is about just that, being thankful.
The reason we are able to celebrate the holiday any number of ways is because we are free. We are free to choose how, when, where and who we celebrate the holiday with and we need to remain thankful for God’s grace because without it none of what we do would be possible.
This country with all it’s freedoms and opportunities would not be possible. And while America is not perfect, it’s still one of the only places on earth where as long as you have a dream and are willing to work for it, you can achieve whatever you desire.
In conclusion, we celebrate Thanksgiving as Americans simply because God has shown His favor on our nation, and it’s because of His favor we are free. Free as a people to live and celebrate Thanksgiving as we choose. It is also because of His grace that we have the opportunity to inherit eternal life. To all who choose to ask for forgiveness and surrender their lives to His only Son, Jesus, and receive Him as their Lord and Savior will be free from judgment once our time on this planet has come.
Thanksgiving is a day in which we give thanks to the One True God, for His kindness, love, and above all else His amazing grace. And if the opportunity ever arises, I will share this with my friend so that she can understand that while we should be thankful for everyday, in America we have chosen, out of a spirit of freedom, to set one day apart so we can celebrate, Thanksgiving.