by ProfDave, ©2020
(Nov. 24, 2020) — This is going to be a different Thanksgiving. We may be reeling from this year’s disasters and we may not dare to have friends and relatives from out of town for the traditional feast and reunion. Can we still be thankful? You cannot invite 90 Indian neighbors.
Snicker for today: Atheists are in trouble when they feel grateful. They have no one to thank!
Harvest festivals have been around ever since agriculture. Every culture holds a festival to thank God – or the gods – for the bounty of the earth, but American Thanksgiving is unique. Why is New England called New England? Here in New England we should remember that this day also commemorates the survival of Plymouth Plantation, marked by the harvest celebration of 1621. Back then, the cities and towns through which you drive in your daily commute were a howling wilderness and the weather we have been having could kill. And nearly half of them did die that first winter. Who were those first settlers of New England? The first generation of New Englanders were mostly religious refugees, fleeing persecution in England. They wanted to worship publicly and order their lives and communities by the Bible – the Word of God. They wanted to set up a model for what England – and the rest of the world – should be. We’ve come a long way, baby!
Don’t let the turkeys get you! Be thankful! Be thankful you don’t have to survive all winter on the food you have stored in your house today! Be thankful you don’t have to heat your home with the sticks you can find in your back yard! Be thankful there’s a doctor within a day’s journey and he doesn’t use leeches to cure a fever! Be thankful that your business has not been nationalized yet! Be thankful that we do not live under communism (yet?)! Be thankful that you can still worship freely – even though you can get in trouble for expressing your faith at work, they will not physically attack you. Be thankful that you can criticize the government without fear! We are truly a blessed people!
Are you thankful yet? We live in the richest, freest, safest country on earth, in the most comfortable century ever. Are you thankful yet? If you can read this, you are alive. You can see. Somebody taught you to read. You have e-mail that works. Are you thankful yet? Are you looking forward to eating this Thanksgiving – until your eyes pop out? We haven’t got enough room in the refrigerator for all the grub! Are you thankful yet? Are you looking forward to spending time with your family or friends, working around the masks and distancing – on-line, if not in-person? I doubt that any of you are going to be alone on Thursday. Are you thankful yet? And if all else is wrong – no money, no food, no shelter, no education, no family, no friends, and only pain and grief remains – you still have a God who loves you and will welcome you home when life is done, don’t you? You don’t??!!! May I introduce you to my God? Then you will be thankful!
There isn’t much I can do for my atheist friends, but for the rest of you here is a short list of things you might be thankful for:
- God loves you
- He planned for you before the foundation of the Cosmos
- He blended your DNA together deep in your mother’s body (and she did not abort you)
- He gave you strengths, weaknesses, and a path unique to you alone
- He gave you strengths – talents, gifts, qualities – through which He means to bless your world
- He gave you weaknesses – disabilities, flaws, challenges – through which He means to partner with you for His glory and your best good
- He gave you a path to walk – circumstances, adventures, and a mission for your life – through which, if you choose to accept it, He means to walk with you to the Promised Land
- He also gave you a choice to accept or reject His love
- To accept or reject who you were made to be
- To accept your strengths and bless your world – or not
- To accept or reject your weaknesses and His partnership
- To accept or reject your path and His hand, His way to the Promised Land
He has made a Way for you. Won’t you take it?
Today’s Word: “Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. Thank the God of all gods, His love never quits. Thank the Lord of all lords, His love never quits.” Psalm 136:1-2. “God, your name is eternal. God, you’ll never be out of date. God stands up for his people. God holds the hands of his people.” Psalm 135:13. Aaaah!
Put your hand in The Hand!
David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College. He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020). He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.