Thanksgiving begins in the heart not at the table. Thanksgiving looks different in 2020. Chronicles offers us a slightly overused but true verse, GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD FOR HE IS GOOD. God’s word never ceases to reveal new thoughts to my thirsty spirit even the overused verses when we seek, we shall find. As I meditated on this verse this morning, I realize we are not instructed to give thanks for our good things, but for HE is Good.
Americans have made thanksgiving into a day, into a holiday, into an event on the calendar that we celebrate rather than an attitude we maintain. We have made thanksgiving into a commercialized party. C.S Lewis says that “pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” This year has certainly felt like God is shouting, for no man feels that things are ok when he is hurting. As we shift out of the thanksgiving norm consisting of large crowds, gathering peoples, preparing, lots of store runs and cooking copious amounts of food, maybe we can slow down enough to remember giving thanks doesn’t require a day or people or goods or even food. It’s not really about us and what we experience or have. It’s all about God being good and merciful. Perhaps we tend to measure God’s goodness by what we have, but what we have or don’t have doesn’t actually prove his goodness. Perhaps finally we can be still and silent enough to truly give thanks instead of celebrating thanks giving day. Is it possible that God has cleared the obstacles that have so hidden truth from us for too long?
The majority of us wait for Thanksgiving Day to send a few hollow prayers up to heaven for all the good things in life, then get on to the business of hosting and eating. But God has given us a moment to be hungry, to get on our knees before we get to the table because that’s all there is to do. He has permitted us to be isolated physically to see the isolation in our hearts from him spiritually. It is easier to hear the vacant, empty barren soul when no one is around. And are we still grateful when our tables are empty? We will never truly be full until we are full with the mercy of God. and we will never know the mercies of God until we are stripped of comfort and worldly pleasures.
“Give thanks to the Lord for HE IS GOOD and His mercy endures forever.” This doesn’t change with 2020 or amidst COVID-19 or in the face of death, poverty loneliness, his mercy doesn’t fluctuate with our present circumstance.
Can we have a clear enough schedule to remember this year, we don’t need things or dates to be thankful, we don’t need health , wealth or parties and people. Some have lost family member, jobs, homes, self-respect or the election. but are these new losses? Have we not throughout time experienced all of these tragedies before? Perhaps we can learn as those who have lived before us, we don’t need comfort to know that God is good. The things that bring smiles at times become cladder hiding the truth, for HE is Good.
When church doors are closing and masks are silencing our voices and hiding our humanity and thanksgiving is cancelled, and people are afraid of eachother, for some reason I feel particularly inspired to write and remind myself thanksgiving is NOT TURKEY DAY, and it’s not about a day , because a day can be cancel, dinner plans can be written off, but a thankful heart is hidden and does not change with the season or with discomfort. Thanksgiving is a heart condition, unseared by time and pain.