Don't Forget Thanksgiving
Don’t Forget Thanksgiving!
Gratitude is a learned behavior. It has to be taught. It doesn’t come naturally for most people. I know I have to work on it... every single day!
When our boys were small - we worked on it - we stressed (like most decent parents)... that when someone does something nice for you, say “thank you” - you express AT LEAST a minimal form of gratitude.
Now, of course, like most parents of our time... we tried to give our children everything they needed - and honestly - most of the things they wanted.
Which has added to my belief... that sometimes we all get so used to being blessed... we get so comfortable in our blessings... and to getting what we need, and most of what we want... that we begin to take those blessings for granted.
Our gratitude - or maybe I should say our expressions of gratitude, sometimes, begin to wane... maybe because of expectations. We expect to receive (because we have, in fact, received)... we expect to be blessed (because we have, in fact, been blessed)... so we lose our sense of thankfulness.
Again, gratitude is a learned behavior.
Somewhere in history there was Samaritan mother or father that did their job well - at least where saying thank you is concerned.
Our Lesson for today tells us that after being healed of leprosy... a Samaritan returned to say “thank you” to Jesus. I imagine that he heard is parents' voices in his head saying, "Now what do you say? Say thank you - say thank you." So he returned and gave thanks to Jesus.
But there were ten lepers healed... not just one! What happened to the other nine? The notion of ingratitude is nothing new.
I don’t know about you... but I think Thanksgiving has become the most overlooked or outright ignored of our major holidays. I mean... look around town! We had Christmas lights installed and turned on - on the 16th of November. I’ve seen on social media picture after picture of people decorating their homes, for Christmas... just after Halloween.
Now listen to me: There’s nothing in the world wrong with decorating and putting out Christmas lights, for heaven’s sake! Don’t miss the point!
It’s just, to me... it kinda feels like Thanksgiving has been absorbed into the grander celebration of what the world calls “Christmas” (which doesn’t represent the celebration of Christ’s birth at all) ... while Thanksgiving is just a quick nod to politeness and good manners that gets in the way of our real celebration of narcissism and over indulgence. That’s the point.
And that bothers me, I guess.
Because the older I get, the more Thanksgiving means. Of course, I’m ready for turkey... and cranberry sauce... and dressing. I love having to pull-up extra chairs around the table, even though some will always be missing.
We need Thanksgiving! We need to stop and be grateful... We need to acknowledge our blessings.
Again, gratitude is a learned behavior.
So many people in our world seem to have forgotten to be grateful... to be appreciative... to be thankful for everything God has blessed us with, and by, and through...
This is nothing new. We heard it in our first lesson today... (Deut. 8:7-18).
“Take heed... lest you forget the LORD your God... when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God” - who blessed you.
Don’t forget to be grateful. Don’t forget to give thanks. Don’t forget that ALL we have has come to us in the form of blessings from God.
Let’s promise ourselves, that we’ll never get so comfortable in our prosperity and abundance and blessings that we forget the Source of “every good and perfect gift.”
I mentioned last week that hopelessness is a form of blasphemy! We’re called by Christ to be a people of hope, and to live without hope is to dishonor God. It’s blasphemous!
But to be ungrateful as a Christian, is a form of blasphemy, too!
We’re called repeatedly in scripture to give thanks!
*”Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”
*“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever!”
*“Give thanks, with a grateful heart!”
*“Give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds.”
*“Give thanks to the Lord; make known his deeds...”
You know... the fact is... I don’t care when people put up their Christmas decorations - again that’s not the point.
The point is... don’t forget to give thanks. Don’t forget Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for... we’ve been so blessed. God has lavished us with so many good and perfect gifts... including Jesus. He has showered us with his loving-kindness.
Let’s remember... let’s always remember: Gratitude may be a learned behavior... but it’s necessary. You can’t honor God without it!