From Thanks to Thanksgiving

It’s quickly becoming “that time of year” again. Oh, you know what I speak of, Thanksgiving. As you read that word, where did your heart take you? Did it take you to a joyful memory of family, food, and fellowship? Or did it take you to the debacle that was last Thanksgiving. Does that dread rise up in you as you think of the critical words spoken by an in-law? Or that family member that brought drama into the whole afternoon? It makes me want to push “fast forward” on life and be in December already. Oh wait. Not quite.


Thanksgiving is one of those traditions that seems to have gotten away from its original intention of gratitude and grown into something of a show. Competing over recipes, football games, and Aunt June’s control issues.


Before we get too far, let’s take a step back. Back to the word, “thanks.”


Combing through the Scriptures, there are so many references to “give thanks.” It is littered throughout the Psalms and New Testament, partly as a command but I think also somewhat of a reminder. As humans we can so quickly forget all of the good the Father has done in us and simply jump into the…


“Oh, I wish this had (or had not) happened.”


“ I wish God had not made that my story.”


What are the phrases you come up with?


The bridge from thanks into thanksgiving is a process of the heart. It is the heart's response to the grace of Jesus. The truth is God has authored the larger story of the Gospel we find ourselves living in. We in turn have smaller role to play within that story. The times I find it most difficult to be thankful are the seasons I get lost in the smaller story, the microscopic details of life, and lose focus on what is really going on in and around me. Much like a character in a story can only see his or her part. My heart must then pause and be reoriented into God’s larger story that puts my smaller one in its true perspective.


I believe that is the journey from thanks into thanksgiving. That moment in which we see reality as it truly is and not what it feels like. Thanksgiving is the way of the grounded heart.


As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches with all of its demands and drama, what should your heart's response be? In what ways can you engage your own heart to cross that bridge from thanks into thanksgiving and allow Jesus, not family circumstances, to meet your desire for more life.


Engage well.

Shane Bowen