Wednesday, November 21, 2007


This Thursday is an American favorite holiday; Thanksgiving. We’ll spend time with friends or family. We’ll eat delicious meals. We’ll enjoy football games. Some will enjoy a nap. What’s not to like about Thanksgiving.

Did you know?

1. The year we first started celebrating Thanksgiving nationally?
a. 1492
b. 1621
c. 1776
d. 1812

2. The year that Thanksgiving was established as a national holiday?
a. 1787
b. 1863
c. 1939
d. 1954

3. Who protested the bald eagle as the national bird?
a. George Washington
b. John Adams
c. Ben Franklin
d. Alexander Hamilton

4. How fast can a turkey fly?
a. 15 mph
b. 25 mph
c. 55 mph
d. Turkeys can’t fly

5. This Thanksgiving how much turkey will be consumed?
a. 190 million lbs.
b. 390 million lbs.
c. 690 million lbs.

Answers to these questions are below. That’s some of the American background to thanksgiving. The point that we must not lose is that the American experience was based upon biblical precedent. Though the pilgrims may have been thankful to the so-called American Indian because he helped them grow corn and other crops, the main expression of thanks was to God.

The pilgrims credited God with their safe travels across the Atlantic; their surviving the first winter; and then their bountiful crops.

The Bible is a record of men and women through the centuries who lived day in and day out thanking God as a matter of lifestyle. What I want to suggest to you today is the act of giving thanks is so important and so powerful that we dare not limit it to one day a year but rather must adopt a lifestyle that I’m calling “ThanksLiving”.

Every person in the Bible that we might want to point to as a model or mentor or hero practiced ThanksLiving. How do we get there? Allow me to make two brief suggestions that are by no means exhaustive.

It takes perspective in order to be thankful. Do you have perspective on your life and circumstances? Do you realize that you are materially in the most blessed 5% of this world’s population? Do you have your health? Do you have people that love you and care about you? Do you have opportunities to express your interests, gifts and abilities? Is your life connected to God?

If you had to answer yes to all or most of those questions then how is it that 90% of the time you don’t think about all your blessings? Answer: because you live taking it for granted rather than taking it with gratitude.

Humility is the state where one thinks much of God and little of self. Self-centeredness and pride think much of self and little of God. The latter breeds a sense of entitlement. Humility breeds gratitude to a great God who gives me things I don’t deserve.

An old hymn exhorts us to, “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done.”

Let’s move from Thanksgiving as one day a year to ThanksLiving every day of the year.

1. 1621. Subsequent thanksgiving experiences were sometimes a fast.
2. 1863 under a decree by President Abraham Lincoln
3. Ben Franklin, who also suggested the turkey as the national bird
4. 55 mph. Turkeys can run 20 mph.
5. 690 million lbs. 97% of us will consume turkey

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