Sunday

"Thanksgiving is Boring" and Other Thanksgiving Myths



It’s one of the most overshadowed holidays on the calendar. Sandwiched between the ultimate candy feast of Halloween and the pomp and pageantry of Christmas, Thanksgiving to many is simply the day before Black Friday. Like consuming the obligatory green vegetable before you earn dessert, many view Thanksgiving as what you have to get through to get to the good stuff. 

“Thanksgiving is boring,” teenagers gripe as they anticipate the awkward small talk with out-of-town relatives over candied yams and fried turkey. 


That thanksgiving is boring is one of several myths I’d like to debunk today, in honor of one of my favorite holidays.



Myth: Thanksgiving is boring. 

Truth: Only if you're an ungrateful wretch.

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).





Myth: Thanksgiving began with the pilgrims.

Truth: King David instituted a day of thanksgiving, complete with special food for everyone, singing, dancing, and special prayer on the day he brought the ark of the Lord into Jerusalem.  The Israelites had a feast of meat,  date cakes, and raisins (See 1 Chronicles 16). He composed his first psalm on this occasion, a song of thanksgiving. His goal was to "give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness." 




Myth: Thanksgiving is only for Christians.

Truth: Thanksgiving is for everyone who lives on God's earth, breathes God's air, and is the benefactor of every good and perfect gift that comes from God.  God sends the rain on the just and the unjust, and it is fitting for everyone to give him thanks. Christians should be the most thankful, however, says David, "Let the whole world know what he has done" (I Chronicles 16:8).

Myth:  Thanksgiving is all about God.

Truth: Thanksgiving is all about me. Or it should be. God doesn't need my thanks, but I need to give it. 
  • I need to give thanks to remind myself from whom all blessings come. If I don't, I begin to get the crazy idea that I'm the source of my health, my talents, my possessions, my family, and my job.
  • I need to give thanks to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, instead of entitlement.
  • I need to give thanks to unseat the "little i am" (me),  and allow the Great I AM (God) to rightfully sit on the throne of my life. This is called submission and humility.
  • I need to give thanks to fulfill the will of God for me. "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Myth: We celebrate Thanksgiving to thank God for all the good things with which he blesses us.

Truth:  We celebrate thanksgiving to thank God for loving us. Everything else is gravy.
Pastor/Teacher Craig Barnes says it this way: “Being thankful is not telling God you appreciate the fact that your life is not in shambles. If that is the basis of your gratitude, you are on slippery ground. Every day of your life you face the possibility that a blessing in your life may be taken away. But blessings are only signs of God's love. The real blessing, of course, is the love itself. Whenever we get too attached to the sign, we lose our grasp on the God who gave it to us. . . We are not ultimately grateful that we are still holding our blessings. We are grateful that we are held by God even when the blessings are slipping through our fingers.”



Myth: Thanksgiving should be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
Truth: Thanksgiving should be celebrated every day of the year. "And he (Jesus) took the bread, broke it, and gave thanks. . . do this in remembrance of me" (Matthew 26:26).



So when you sit across the table from your out of town relatives this Thanksgiving, eating the obligatory green vegetable before you consume a plate full of dessert, will you join me in lifting our voices in thanksgiving to God? Because when we focus on God and not ourselves, Thanksgiving is anything but boring.


“Give thanks to the Lord of lords.

His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—
His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:3-7)





If you're reading through email, click here to worship with Matt Redman and 10,000 Reasons
 
 If you enjoyed this post, you might like "Is There an Empty Chair at your Thanksgiving Table?"
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If you enjoyed this devotion, you'll love Lori's devotional book for homeschooling moms, Joy in the Journey.


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16 comments:

  1. Great post...I totally agree.

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  2. Excellent points. I did a Thanksgiving sermon this morning and wish I had read your blog first. I could have used some of these ideas. Good post.

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    1. You honor me, Warren, with your kind words. I'm sure you can rest in the confidence that your sheep heard just the message the Great Shepherd planned for you to bring them . . . and now you have some new ideas for next year's sermon :)

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  3. Well said! Blessings, Gin

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  4. Some of your myths threw me until I read the answers : )
    Good thoughts, as usual, dear friend. Thanks for sharing them.

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  5. hey there, lori!

    wonderful piece, & oh, how i LOVE that craig barnes quote. so very TRUE.

    thanks so much for the challenge.

    blessings to you & yours,
    tanya

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    1. Tanya,

      I agree, some nuggets of wisdom drive themselves down deep into our hearts, and then we just have to share them. So glad his wise words were a blessing to you too. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  6. Thanks for the insights, Lori! So true! Well done once more!

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  7. Lori, thank you so much for coming by my place. I love yours! Can't wait to read more!!

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  8. “Being thankful is not telling God you appreciate the fact that your life is not in shambles. If that is the basis of your gratitude, you are on slippery ground.... blessings are only signs of God's love. The real blessing, of course, is the love itself."

    Awesome reminder! Thanks :)

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  9. Excellent post, Lori! I'm copying the Craig Barnes quote for my office. I'll be speaking to a group of ladies on Tuesday and would love to share from your post. I'll be sure to give you and 'Be Not Weary' props! Blessings to you!

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  10. Mary,

    I'd be honored to be part of the encouragement. I stopped a moment to pray for your time with the ladies. May God use you in a mighty way. blessings back at ya!

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  11. Thank you Lori, this was a great reminder of ways to show our thankfulness to God. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving? Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home this week.

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  12. Hi Lori
    In South Africa we don't have a national thanksgiving day, but as you said, a day is not necessary! A heart filled with the love, the life, the grace, mercy and goodness of God cannot be bound by a time, a day or a place. Thanksgiving to our gracious Heavenly Pappa just as natural and necessary as breathing! Geary post, my friend.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

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