The Price of Thanksgiving
"Don't seek to be contented with your efforts or to be assured within that all is well, balance yourself on the tremulous outer edge of hope, over the abyss, trembling sometimes, but self-surrendered to God's loving care."
From the Letters of Rev.Mother Janet Stuart
I was once chased by a psychotic turkey at the zoo. As a tiny five-year-old, it was pretty traumatizing for me to have a huge, ugly bird pursue me down the sidewalk at a breakneck pace. I thought I could save myself. I thought I could run fast enough to evade him, but to no avail. I screamed and jumped up into my dad's strong arms for refuge. I was disappointed in myself for succumbing to the fear, for retreating when I wanted to stand and face that creepy turkey. I had to give up something that day. I couldn't do everything on my own. I had to rely on my father for safety. For refuge and strength. As that turkey ran past us, I wondered if he was even chasing me at all, of if I had imagined the threat.
On Thanksgiving day, passing around the turkey, squash, mashed potatoes and gravy is easy enough. Eating my way through stuffin' muffins and our family's Shrine pumpkin cake is no problem. But actually giving thanks beyond food, beyond family, beyond the usual suspects will cost me something.
Admitting that even though I don't have every single thing I want, and yet I am still thankful will cost me my pride. Stand down Amy.
Admitting that God is still in control as Alzheimer's steals away my beloved Grandmother bit by bit requires my unwavering trust that God is still good.
Admitting that I'm a girl in need of a Savior every moment of every day will cost me a fraction of my independence- the space I often place between me and God- and the sense that I have control over my own life.
Admitting that I'm made for a purpose that only God can fulfill requires me to engage in a faith that sometimes seems useless as I wonder if God really has anything special for me today.
But all of these admissions lead to one thing- the PRESENCE of God. The person. The Savior. The Giver. The Shepherd. The Redeemer.
Life isn't perfect just because it's Thanksgiving. But true thankfulness doesn't rest in circumstances. It doesn't rest in the perfect meal, or the perfect family. True thankfulness rests in the person of Christ, and trusting in Him doesn't feel like a sacrifice at all.
Psalm 7:17- I will give the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to
the name of the Lord, Most High.
Our thanks is BECAUSE of His righteousness. The perfection of His Holy character and absolute control in love. The more I know Him, the more I thank Him and believe in His ultimate plans no matter what my current circumstances are.
True thanksgiving requires me to look outside of myself. To see beyond this day that God is an abundant provider and giver of all the good things in my life. None of the things I want will satisfy me more than the abundance of His continuous presence and faithfulness.
Getting out of my own way is a small price to pay for a deep and abiding gratefulness to a God who never changes.
Enjoy family. Enjoy food. Enjoy a heart of true gratitude to the One who payed the ultimate cost for us.
Happy Thanksgiving friends and family! I am certainly thankful for each and every one of you!
Additional Excellent Thanksgiving Readings:
My Journey Into Thankfulness
The Power of Giving Thanks
Look Through the Lens of Thanksgiving
God is Writing Your Story: A Journey Beyond Mere Thankfulness