This is just a quick note on Thanksgiving Day.
That’s American Thanksgiving in my family, since we have celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last month. (Same menu, same gratitude, no Pilgrims.)
I am, of course, grateful to you. I’m glad you read what I write here on my blog and elsewhere. What is a writer without readers? Thanks, especially, for every time you post a comment or send an email in response.
And I’m extra specially thankful that you are reading this after my blog has been on hiatus for so many months.
This Thanksgiving arrives in a season for my country and our world where it is so easy to be more concerned than joyful. I won’t go into a litany of the problems. I won’t ignore them either, but the point of the post is thanksgiving in the midst of them.
Ancient Israel faced many a dark time too.
- They were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years.
- When God finally set them free, they wandered for decades, homeless in the wilderness.
- Once they were led to the land that had been promised, they faced war from neighboring countries and division of their own country.
- Eventually they were overthrown and large numbers were taken into exile.
They knew all about problems with their government, and they knew what it was like to be refugees.
But they gave thanks.
Thanksgiving for the Big Picture
My case in point is one of my favorite psalms, number 136. (I wrote about it a couple years ago.)
Take a look:
The beginning verse set the pattern: There is a call to give thanks, followed by a declaration that “God’s steadfast love endures forever!”
In the rest of the psalm the first half of every verse recites Israel’s history in order: creation, slavery in Egypt, deliverance, wilderness, land of promise…
And the second half of every verse makes the declaration of a thankful heart: “God’s steadfast love endures forever!”
- The good stuff? That’s fodder for giving thanks.
- The hard stuff? That’s fodder for giving thanks too.
Why? Because the writer of the psalm had the big picture in mind. The big picture of the history of the world is the expression of God’s steadfast, generous, overflowing love.
Sometimes — a lot of times for a lot of people — things are very very hard. But our story is part of God’s story, and it all works out well in the end.
If it isn’t working out well, then you know this isn’t the end.
Underneath and through your story and mine, underneath and through the story of the Church and the world, God’s steadfast love endures forever.
Give it a try at your Thanksgiving feast:
Each person can provide their own first half of a new verse for Psalm 136 — something they are grateful for.
Then all the rest can say the second half:
“God’s steadfast love endures forever!”
Happy thanksgiving to you and yours!