Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanks, But No Thanks

It’s November. And November is synonymous with inducing a coma caused by the tryptophan in turkey (the food, not the country). Or, as we in America call it, Thanksgiving. Ahh, that beautiful holiday when we gather together with family, eat too much, sleep through a Detroit Lions game and then go home. You know about the ride home, right? That is when you share with your spouse how her family bothers you.

I have to confess I feel a tad guilty being snarky about Thanksgiving. After all, it is a legit American holiday. Thankfulness is something that is encouraged in the Bible. It’s even the topic of our theme at our church this month (and 90% of other churches as well). Shouldn’t I just write out my list of things I’m thankful for and then move on to writing some devotional for next month’s church newsletter, something along the lines of a great gift of shoes I once gave my mom? Everybody knows that when you're writing about Christmas, you have to include lyrics to at least one inspirational Christmas song.

I wish I could. But alas, I cannot. The truth (and my senior pastor) compels me to write this article.

I think the problem I have is that November comes along and we’re all expected to turn on our holiday spirit. First, we become nostalgic and thankful; then, we buy stuff for everyone we are thankful for. But if embodying thankfulness is something we should be doing, then I believe it is something we should be doing all the time. Perhaps the reason we struggle and merely tolerate family at Thanksgiving is because we do not really live out thankfulness the other 364 days of the year.

In writing his young apprentice, Timothy, the Apostle Paul had some good advice on this subject. He’s warning Timmy about ‘hypocritical liars’ who teach against getting married and eating certain foods. (That’s 2 strikes for the pro-Thanksgiving crowd.) But Paul says this; “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5). Just one verse earlier he said this thankfulness was to be given by “those who believe and who know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3).

So, do you believe? Then be thankful. But be careful about offering thanks for not being related to everyone at the Thanksgiving meal. I tried that once and it made for a very long car ride home.

This was originally posted on November 18, 2010. You may ask what gives with 2 days of leftovers?!? Don't worry, tomorrow is fresh stuff. 

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