Give Thanks. Please.

I recognize that it could be viewed as a form of laziness, reposting a portion of last year’s Thanksgiving-themed blog. (Particularly since I’ve been a real slacker in my blog writing for the last half-year.) Indulge me, if you will, in allowing this one to be passed around in a few heads and hearts again. The message is no less important this year.

For the record, I am exceedingly grateful this year for the joys and milestones experienced in my life and in the lives of my immediate family members. I am grateful for many sincere, genuinely loving and lasting relationships in my life. I have some really awesome friends … and I wish we could spend more quality time together. I am grateful to God for the grace (unmerited favor) that gives me an opportunity to share the gospel (good news) of Jesus with people I may never have a chance to interact with otherwise. May you all have an abundantly joyous Thanksgiving as you seek to truly GIVE thanks.

[Bonus inclusion to make up for re-posting last year’s article: click for a video recording of “Thank You,” recorded live during worship in Butler Chapel on the lovely campus of Campbell Divinity School in 2013.]

From the 2013 blog post:

Thanksgiving Day, when I was growing up, was one of the more revered holidays. It wasn’t a religious holiday, but it was a holy day in many ways. Businesses were closed. We set aside that one day to gather with family – as extended as possible – for an afternoon and evening of feasting. Often, the party moved from one house to the next where we had an opportunity to see new, happy family faces at each stop. When I think of family gatherings, inevitably, I remember the Thanksgiving Days of my earlier years.

Now, Thanksgiving Day has been diminished to a sort of pre-game for the Superbowl of holiday shopping. It’s appalling, really, our lack of attention to the importance of acknowledging and demonstrating gratitude. Surely, we could all use a day to lay aside our cash and credit cards to assemble with friends and family, and to simply be grateful – individually and collectively – for what we have received and for the grace we have witnessed in our lives.

So, I’m making an appeal again this year – an appeal for our return to Thanksgiving. I’m making a plea for our turning away from culturally driven consumerism and turning toward God and those people with whom we are in relationship to say “thank you.” Maybe, just maybe, if we protect that one day of Thanksgiving, we can gradually learn to nurture gratitude as a way of life, instead of nurturing our insatiable desires for more of everything … that leads to satisfaction with nothing.”

I’ve noticed a few of my Facebook friends starting a daily post of thanks-giving as the holiday approaches. Even though a few folks are posting their daily journal in a public forum, I hope there are several more who have, perhaps, decided to take on the Give Thanks challenge in a more private way. 

Will you be honoring Thanksgiving Day as a day to practice gratitude in your family? I hope you put as much (or more) effort into that plan as you put into planning which sales you might hit on Black Friday.

I really like the phrase “give thanks.” I like it because it emphasizes the truth that gratitude isn’t something meant to be felt and left there. It’s meant to be shared, to be given away.

Thank you for spending your time reading and thinking about gratitude with me. Now, let’s give thanks together – generously.