It’s time to give thanks! Actually, if you worship regularly, you might say that every day.
In this country, our calendar includes a Day of Thanksgiving. In Canada, that day is in October, but in this country, it is in November. We look forward to this holiday as an opportunity to spend time with friends and family, eat good food, watch football games, engage in “Black Friday” shopping, and relax after sometimes difficult years have nearly come to an end. Some people even regard Thanksgiving as a special opportunity to engage in worship to thank God for gifts and blessings.
What is unusual about this holiday from an historic point of view is that it came during one of the bleakest times in our history after the Battle of Gettysburg. On the surface, losses were so great that many might not have seen thanksgiving as appropriate. And although Jefferson Davis thought the South might also set aside a time to give thanks, many Southerners could not agree about supporting anything Lincoln had considered to be appropriate. (Hopefully, even during this time of division, we are not that divided as a nation.)
If you consider the gift of faith, you might also argue that November is a month of Thanksgiving celebrations. As Lutherans, we begin this month in the shadow of the Reformation celebration. Luther’s ideas of the importance of God’s grace in our lives are certainly worth celebrating. However, we follow this celebration by celebrating the sainthood of believers. In fact, through Holy Baptism, all of us have a measure of sainthood in our beings. (And that sainthood lives through giving thanks to God.)
Yet the celebration goes even further. November is also a time when congregations consider their budgets for another year. Discussing the gifts God has imparted to us offers opportunities of thanksgiving. Certainly, our response to these gifts through our giving and our serving in Christ provides important opportunities for us to thank God and to grow in the power of the Spirit.
In many ways, this story never ends: God has entrusted us with so many gifts that enable us to minister and to make a difference in the world that our lives become lives of thanksgiving. As you consider your role in times of Thanksgiving in your life, consider how important this gift really is. Thank you, God, for giving me (us) the gift of life and the faith to live my (our) life (lives) in you each day.
Peace in Christ,