Posted on Nov 20, 2017 by Pastor Dave Whetter
I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving! In my sermon this past Sunday, I noted that Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday. After the 8:00 service, one woman noted that she was surprised to hear me say that; after all, she said, “Didn’t the founding fathers intend it as a time of giving thanks to God?”. So that got me thinking; I did a little reading Sunday evening and, sure enough, it began as a day to give thanks for the blessing of the harvest. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in both religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday. Just because it is not recognized as a religious holiday, though, doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t treat it as such.
I know I have much to give thanks for, but the problem is, how can I ever give God enough praise and thanksgiving for the generosity God has shown me in Christ Jesus? The answer to that is, I can’t. I will never be able to give God enough thanks for the love and abundant grace God has bestowed on me, but I need to offer thanks, anyway. God doesn’t need me to offer thanks, but what I have come to realize is that I need to do it because, in the act of giving thanks, I discover not only how blessed I am, but how I might better use those blessings to bless the world as God expects of me.
So this week, I am giving thanks. I give thanks for Jill, who for some unknown reason loves me and is my best friend. I give thanks for my own parents (my father died 18 years ago) and my in-laws (who both died five years ago). Each of them has been and continues to be a blessing to me. I give thanks for my children and grandchildren, whose love strengthens me and gives me purpose. I give thanks for the faith community and ministries here at Salem. I am truly blessed to be able to serve our Lord with such an incredibly generous and faith-filled community. As I write this note in the darkness of an early, cold Monday morning, I also realize how blessed I am to not only have a warm house, but a home that is filled with love. And most of all, I give thanks for the gift of resurrection that each of us receives in our faith in Christ. I cannot imagine living through these difficult times without Christ. What an awesome God we have!
Thanksgiving is definitely a time we should joyously gather with family and friends. It is definitely a time to enjoy good food and fun times. But most of all, it is a time to intentionally remember and give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.
So what do you give thanks for this week? I pray that as we begin this holiday season each of us is intentional about giving thanks to our Lord for all we have and all He bestows upon us.
Have a blessed week!
Shalom, Pr. Dave