What a joyous time is Thanksgiving! It is one of my favorite holidays! Not only does it offer a great opportunity to visit with family and friends, but the traditional menu includes many of my all-time favorites!
The main reason I love Thanksgiving, however, is its intentional focus on gratitude and appreciation with a minimum of commercialization. It is one of the few holidays that hasn’t been hijacked by the culture and corrupted with cash, although Black Friday is starting to bleed backwards into Thursday.
Unfortunately, many individuals that celebrate this special day offer little if any thanks to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. In our culture that omits God, we have become accustomed to giving thanks to no one in particular. Even worse, in some cases, we’ve even turned it around to thank ourselves, our ancestors, or our own ingenuity as if we somehow are responsible for our own blessings. Too frequently we completely ignore our real Benefactor and even offend Him.
I’ve heard of a law still on the books in Louisiana that allows a gift to be revoked on the grounds of ingratitude. If any gift recipient tries to murder the person who gave to them or is found guilty of injuring or cruelly mistreating the giver, or if he or she refuses to provide food to their giver when it is needed, the gift can be taken from the recipient and returned to its original owner.
I’m not sure this rule has ever been enforced but I can only imagine the sad situation that must have prompted its passage. One would think that all beneficiaries would be so thankful and appreciative that they would honor the givers and not try to harm them. However, while injurious actions seem ludicrous and unthinkable, they have sometimes occurred. In fact, the entire human race is guilty of all three crimes.
Our gracious Heavenly Father has provided us with an incredibly beautiful, functional, and useful creation. He has gifted us with bodies that normally operate properly as well as enough food, shelter, and clothing to keep us healthy and happy. In addition, He has surrounded us with family and friends that love and care for us and He has situated us in a valley unsurpassed in natural beauty.
Aside from all the physical blessings we enjoy, He has lavished His amazing love on us and sacrificed Himself to give us forgiveness, joy, and everlasting peace. In the words of the old Toyota commercial, “Who could ask for anything more?”
Unfortunately, we humans have responded to God’s extravagant generosity with gross ingratitude. When He came to earth, we spat in His face, mocked Him and even denied Him a warm place to be born. Later, we gave Him no place to lay His head and I’m sure He was well acquainted with hunger pains. Not only did we cruelly mistreat Him in all these ways, but we even went so far as to murder Him upon a painful cross.
In light of the Louisiana statute, He had every reason to sue us to get everything back. Incredibly, He’s never asked nor demanded the return of a single gift. Instead, He continues to give us new supplies of life, oxygen, food, joy, warmth, love and so much more every single day. Rather than revoking His gifts, He keeps giving us more and more in spite of our ongoing lack of appreciation and harsh treatment.
I know our ungratefulness hurts Him and He would like nothing more than for us to receive and appreciate His greatest gift of love delivered through His Son, Jesus. Even though we may have spurned Him in the past, there’s no reason to continue those actions now and into the future. After receiving Him, we can then begin to appropriately thank and praise the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
My prayer is that the Thanksgiving season will prompt us to be more grateful to God for His many gifts. Not just one day a year, but every single day. Not just as an event, but as a lifestyle. Let’s confess the times we’ve hurt our Ultimate Giver and join in giving Him thanks.
Thanksgiving Blessings, George