It’s common to see people posting about their thankfulness on social media in the month of November. While it’s tempting to think it’s trite, being thankful is a good practice for all people, especially those who claim the name of Jesus Christ. The Psalmist reminds us to be thankful in Psalm 136:1-2:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.

I could list many things I’m thankful for:  my wife who is so sacrificial and loyal, my kids who are precious gift from God, my Savior whom I love and who loves me in spite of me and because of Him, my church who is so generous and living on mission, my neighbors who are good friends and a source of encouragement. I could go on and on and on about the things I’m thankful for. Actually, a pastor friend of mine features a daily thankful post on Facebook. When I wrote this he was on Day 1,837 of things to give thanks for! It’s so true that a thankful person is a happy person.

The older I get the more I appreciate Thanksgiving. Oh, I love Christmas and Easter for what they mean to my faith, but they’re also filled with hustle, bustle, exhaustion, and extremes.  When I was a kid I used to think that Thanksgiving was simply the holiday to kick off Christmas!  But now that I’m older I’ve really come to appreciate how meaningful Thanksgiving is.

Which leads me to 7 reasons why I’m thankful for the holiday of Thanksgiving.  These are in no particular order.

  1. The Meal – Yep I like food. I know we ought to be careful not to become gluttons, but I’m thinking less about the food and more about the setting. It causes us to eat together as families and friends. I’m thankful for the meal.
  1. Football – I enjoy the sport and the 2 games that are on to watch with family. I’ll admit the games are typically an excuse to take a nap and sleep.  I don’t like the Cowboys or the Lions, so who cares who wins.  I just enjoy watching the game.  I’m thankful for football.
  1. Shopping – Actually I hate shopping, but I’m thankful for it for the people who love it. I enjoy their joy in shopping for dishtowels they don’t need for $1.  I’m the one who prefers to go to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night simply to not have many people around.  I’m thankful for those who like to shop.
  1. Time off – I am so thankful for the rest that comes with Thanksgiving. The kids are off, I’m off for 4 consecutive days, and we get to be together as a family.  I’m thankful for rest and time off.
  1. Games – Time off is an opportunity to play games as a family. We enjoy playing board games, card games, and a variety of other games.  Time off gives us the margin to eat snacks, play games, laugh, make memories and traditions.  I’m thankful for games.
  1. Travel – We typically are in the van on Thanksgiving traveling to our hometown to celebrate with our families. I enjoy watching our kids get snuggled into the van, watching movies, and just being together.  I also love watching them fall asleep on the way home after having fun with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.  I’m thankful for travel.
  1. Christmas – It’s true that after Thanksgiving is over, Christmas season kicks off. And while I think it’s a sin to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, I also think its time to put up the tree Thanksgiving weekend!   Typically on our way back from the grandparents’ houses we toss in the Christmas CD’s and start singing the songs of the season that celebrate Immanuel – God with us!  I’m thankful for Christmas.

There are other things, but this Thanksgiving I’m going to pause and enjoy the things that make Thanksgiving great. I hope you’ll do the same. What are your favorite parts of Thanksgiving? What Thanksgiving traditions do you and your family have?

While it’s true we should be giving thanks every day, let’s not forget to do it on the holiday set aside for it.  Let’s do what the Psalmist reminded us to do… let’s give thanks!

Give thanks!
Pastor Nick