From everyone in The Reformed Alliance team, Happy Thanksgiving!
This is an amazing (and overwhelmingly ignored) holiday in which we celebrate the providence of God in our lives. Most Americans see it as just a day in which we indulge ourselves with that delicious turkey, mashed “taters” (as Ashton would call it), and that mouth-watering gravy. I think that because we think of Thanksgiving as just being a stupid excuse of a holiday where we eat a lot, we want to just get straight to Christmas.
I went to public squares and drove past malls recently and noticed the decorations. It was not even past the first week of November, and I saw Chick-fil-A already put up Christmas trees, lights, and play Christmas music. Now, I love Christmas. I love it more than the people who say they love Christmas, because I recognize the joy in Christ becoming a child to be our hope in salvation. I look forward to joining the impatient millennials who have been singing We Wish Me You a Merry Christmas since mid-October.
But I want us to remember that Thanksgiving is not just a holiday in which we eat turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. It is more than just being a holiday in which dinner starts around 2:00 for some reason. Quit with the stuffing (pun intended) and hear me out!
Hundreds of years ago, a group of Calvinists came to the New World in order to seek religious liberty. They were known as the Puritans. They faced many hardships when they arrived in present day New England. Mothers dying at birth, children dying from starvation, and men and women dying from all kinds of diseases. At every turn, it seemed that death had encompassed them. The men were struggling to grow crops in the harsh climate and rugged soil. The livestock grew weak until giving in to exhaustion and death. These were not happy times, and that is what makes Thanksgiving so significant.
The Puritans recognized, after every winter’s pass, that God could’ve willed for all of them to perish. Instead, He spared many from death. Even if God didn’t spare the sons and daughters of a Puritan couple, they were in awe of God’s goodness in the littlest things in life. They found solace in their hymns and in the pastor’s preaching. No matter how dark their lives were, they did everything to the glory of God. After much toil, harvest time came. The people gathered together as one to have a giant feast. There, they thanked God for His providence, for His salvation, and for protecting the few that remained. In work, and in their rest, they were thankful for whatever God had given them, and they glorified God for all that was given from Him.
We, by human nature, are ungrateful. No wonder so many impatient people run to the holiday that satisfies them, and ignore the holiday in which they have to give thanks to God. No wonder so many of us want to sing of the joyful Christmas carols that lift our spirits, rather than sing hymns of thankfulness to God with a contrite heart. Have we not seen God spare us from danger? Have we plenty? Has not God protected us this past year? Then why are we so eager to run from this precious holiday?
Christmas will come, all in good time, but today… GIVE THANKS! Give thanks to God for His wondrous deeds, for His unmerited favor upon us, and for His divine providence! Praise God for being active, for being a friend, and for being our greatest joy in all things. As you gather together with family and friends and you hold each others’ hands in uplifting prayer, don’t neglect to glorify God for all he has done. This holiday is not about you, the food, or your poor waist (oh gosh… I might have to get new pants this week). This holiday is about God and what He has done.
If you are able to, recite this verse (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV) before eating your Thanksgiving meal:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Soli Deo Gloria.