Very often over the last month, I’ve heard many conversations about Thanksgiving traditions and what people “had to have” as part of their special dinner. For some it was stuffing. For others it was homemade macaroni and cheese. You all know that at our house it isn’t a holiday without Matt’s Mom’s lemon cheesecake. All of those details are very important for us but if we are honest our Thanksgivings really have nothing to do with food. On Thanksgiving 7 years ago, our little family had takeout in a Cleveland Clinic waiting room. My Mom had cancer removed just 2 days before and was declared cancer-free. That year we felt more thankful than ever before as we ate luke-warm food off of paper plates.
Last Wednesday and Thursday, as our Church came together to prepare 1800 meals, I could tell that no one was thankful just for the food. They were happy and smiling and thankful because they were together. They were thankful to be with friends and family working toward the common goal of serving God and serving His people. As I look at the pictures and see the smiling faces, I am overwhelmed with the fact that our Church has so much to be thankful for. We can be thankful for a God who provides immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine – so much that we can feed over 1000 people. We can be thankful for elders and ministers who follow God’s calling to serve and love in the name of Jesus. We can be thankful for the folks who never get credit for showing up day after day to do jobs that no one will hear about but will ensure that every person who comes to this Church will be fed or clothed. We can be thankful for young families who come out on cold nights with littles in tow to show them how to love like Jesus in tangible ways. We can be thankful thatwe see Jesus in each other every time this Church family gets together.
As we go into the Christmas season, the season where people are making lists of what they want or need, make sure you are taking Thanksgiving with you. In Matt’s Nehemiah class, he mentioned that when people come into the presence of God they are overwhelmed with thanksgiving and want to give back to God in worship or sacrifice. One of the best ways to honor God and to show Him our gratitude is to look like Him, to imitate Him. When you feel overwhelmed with gratitude this month by the ways God has blessed you, pass those blessings onto others just like He gave them to you. If you need ideas on how to do that, we have a few!