Psalm 95:2 “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”
As we approach Thanksgiving, tradition tells us that we are supposed to be thankful. After all, we have been through this year after year. Each year, we are reminded we are supposed to be thankful. Isn’t it easy to take being thankful for granted when tradition takes over? It can be very easy to become numb to the feeling we try to even muster up as we cook the turkey, plan for family visits, and fellowship together. For some, Thanksgiving is a reminder of those who are not with us, or a reminder of how hard life has been this year.
Regardless as to the feelings it brings up in us, it is still so easy to allow tradition to speak to us that this day that comes once every year is a day we are supposed to be thankful. Most of the time we truly are thankful even with the traditional reminder. I know that I am. I’m grateful I get to eat one more day, to breathe and smell good food cooking, and to be with those around me who love and care about me.
The truth is, my greatest gratitude comes from a place that was delivered out of adversity or strain. The meaning of giving thanks is magnified by the feeling of a deep sense of amazing grace that I have ,or had, experienced through the harder times. A deeply thankful person has been saved from tragedy, death, sure destruction, and sometimes sickness. When someone comes up from a deep sense of sadness or finally had a breakthrough that suddenly has made life much more worth living gratitude and thanksgiving come flowing out like a fountain from a deep well that once was stagnant but somehow a radiant love has stirred the pool and it comes alive once more!
This Thanksgiving holiday let there be less tradition and more true gratitude from the places inside of us, and around us, that have been delivered from the most difficulties in life. Allow the meaning of Thanksgiving be transformed into our witness that God has been good to us over the years and will never cease His goodness or His delivering love. The pilgrims of yesteryear might have felt this deep sense of gratitude for all they had, mostly because they had somehow been saved from the most horrendous storms in life.
We are still as those pilgrims. We have been saved from sure destruction and if we think about it hard enough, we realize that God has stepped into our lives over and over to give us His powerful deliverance. We have been saved through the devastation of cancer, abuses, financial hardships, defamation of character, and grievous losses. Our pilgrimage here on earth has never been easy, even if his year seems to have been a bit more tolerable. We all have things in life that have given us cause to be more grateful than tradition speaks to us we should be.
This year I am deeply thankful that the illness I have experienced over the last year and a half has been resolved and I am feeling so much better. It was a hard and very financially expensive year. I am thankful for the roof over my head because 2 years ago I had no place to call my own, like a vagabond on this earth with no direction. I am thankful for relationship and support when I have needed it, for God and His spirit, for answered prayers, and for blessings upon family members. I am grateful to have heard my son talk about Bible stories and grateful he has a renewed sense of his relationship with God. There are many more things I could mention that have pulled at my heart strings. All of them give to me a sigh of deep relief. Thanksgiving sure does not come from tradition this year. It comes from having come out of the desert and still being intact, knowing God loves me completely, and some of the insanity of this world is just a bit less insane because His restoration is a true thing and not just something we occasionally preach about.
God bless you in your Thanksgiving holiday ! May God reveal the deeper sense of thankfulness that comes from adversity and His great delivering love!
Pastor Jenine Marie Howry
Thankful for you!
**Image from FaithPub