Thanksgiving makes my mouth water! It’s no secret – I love to eat. Turkey (I’ll have a thigh please), mashed potatoes (with garlic!), stuffing (an appropriate suggestion), a spoonful of cranberry salad (as a garnish) and the appropriate slices of pie (pumpkin, apple, and pecan) make this a great holiday. But even better still are the faces of those around the table. Uncle Gary pushes back and launches into one of his great stories that will make milk come out your nose. The kids anoint themselves with gravy and green beans. Meemaw is there looking like an ancient angel. We also shed a tear for those who aren’t in their places this year.
Yes, thanksgiving is a great holiday, but these days it seems to be falling on hard times. Retailers are pushing Thanksgiving out of the way to make room for more profitable holidays like Halloween and Christmas. Families aren’t what they once were and those that are seem scattered across the country and around the world. From my cynical seat I might remark people who are focused on their rights and entitlements have little room in their hearts for an attitude of gratitude.
That’s one of the reasons worship is so important because worship, by its very definition, is focused on someone else, someone greater than ourselves. We kneel in the shadow of the cross and gratefully express our thanksgiving for someone who wasn’t selfish. We lift our hands in praise of our Father who loves us so much in spite of ourselves. We are filled with the Spirit as we make a joyful noise.
This is going to be a month of transformation. Paul told the Romans:
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We are transformed by worship, the renewing of our minds – and here is the special blessing brought on by the attitude of gratitude. Our life becomes more positive, more hopeful, more fun!
The old hymn writer Johnson Oatman caught it in his song:
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.