First, let me ask: What are you thankful for today?
My favorite part of this holiday is the FOUR-DAY WEEKEND! Seriously… For most Americans, this is a holiday of feasting, of family, and of hopeful spirits. But for me, it’s a holiday of rest. For the past few years while I’ve been living in Minneapolis, I’ve taken the liberty to visit home (in the boonies of Wisconsin) and relax for a few days. Even now, amidst my busy schedule of full-time job and full-time internship, it’s nice to be able to take a couple days off of life.
Obviously this holiday has roots in the origin of the U.S. as we know it… back in the pilgrim days (yes, that’s about as literal and factual of an explanation as you’re going to get from me). But for the last couple hundred years it has come to represent a universal time for us, as Americans, to remember to be thankful.
What is ‘thanksgiving’ really?
Here’s what my friend Merriam has to say about the word:
1 : the act of giving thanks (kind or grateful thoughts; gratitude)
2 : a prayer expressing gratitude
3 : a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness.
Even non-religious people would be willing to relate the giving of thanks to prayer. But look at that third definition: ‘a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness.’ You see, thanksgiving has so much more meaning than simply having a thankful heart. It’s public. Thanksgiving is meant to be a social deed, an outward expression of an inner emotion.
For example, I am forever thankful for the love God has blessed me with through my wife… and Mrs. Hodgett knows that… and so does the whole world. You see, I am open and public about my love for her. I am outwardly thankful for the inner emotions I feel for her.
That’s what thanksgiving is all about.
Most of us (really, all of humanity) struggle with self acceptance, and further, self acceptance. In a culture of increasing demand for economy and convenience, we consume our time with condensed fervor, squeezing productivity out of every second of our lives. We pinch ever penny in hopes of living a better life. We work just a few minutes more, just a few months more, just a few years more… in hopes of better results. We cry, scratch, scream, beg for peace, love, acceptance… but never seem to achieve it.
You – me – all of us – have the ability to be content. It’s called faith. The author of the book of Hebrews said it best:
Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you (Hebrews 13:5)
So, today, as you eat your turkey and tatoes, and green bean bake, remember to be thankful… publicly! Let the whole world know what and who you are thankful for.
Let me ask you again: What are you thankful for today?