What do you have to be thankful for?
Last Sunday we had a sermon talking about Thanks-living (or living with a thankful heart). I'm typically annoyed by such light topics and want more depth, but interestingly enough something struck a cord with me. The pastor gave reference to Abraham Lincoln officially making Thanksgiving a national holiday where we give Thanksgiving to God.
I am not sure that I ever really think about WHO I'm giving thanks to when it comes to Thanksgiving. More just the things and people that I'm thankful for. Kevin and I launched into a whole converation about "how can you be thankful to nothing?" and I realized that I had been. In my mind, this has never been a religious holiday, but more of one where I eat lots of good food, remember my friends and family, and plan my strategy for Black-Friday madness. Which I guess is exactly the approach any non-Christian might have toward the day as well. It's definitely how it's marketed.
How have I missed the point all of these years?
Later that afternoon I ventured out with Liam to pick up a treasure I'd found on Craigslist (a favorite site of mine). The well-kempt woman that stepped onto the tiny porch (housing her kitchen table, also for sale) looked kind but perhaps a little nervous. The bargainer in me asked if she'd take any less for the item that I thought was a bit overpriced. She faltered, embarassment in her voice as she told me "No, not really. To be honest, we really need food." All of the sudden, it was ME who felt embarrassed. Embarrassed for having wanted to wheel and deal her down five measly dollars. Embarrassed for my SUV with heated seats that was going to take me to Target to peruse stuff that I didn't really need. Embarrassed for buying her stuff so she could put food on her table. Oh no wait. She's selling that kitchen table.
I found out a flood of other information later that day about her. She's got cancer and can't sit long so she's stopped attending church and listens to it at home on the internet. Her husband quit his successful home improvement business to take a job that pays $330 a week at Johns Hopkins JUST so he could have the medical benefits to pay for her care. They have 5 dollars to their name after all the bills are paid. And wouldn't you know it, but they don't even have a real fridge. They have two of those dorm room fridges with the teeny tiny freezers inside and one of the fridge's doesn't quite work right. All that she had in that one was a little bit of vegetables starting to turn. Between the two of them there was no milk, no bread, no cheese, no eggs.
As we talked I saw her love for the Lord and gratitude for His provision and it cemented in my mind that if SHE can be thankful to Him, I MUST be thankful to Him for all that He's provided.
So this is it.
This Thanksgiving marks the first of many God-focused Thanksgivings for me.
Because it's not about the STUFF I have or the TURKEY I eat or even about the PEOPLE I love, but more importantly about the source of all of that. God. And Him alone.