Cranking up this Thanksgiving to a new level of appreciation


As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s good to take a little time to reflect on the deeper meaning of this special holiday. Let’s face it, we associate this holiday with certain things-memories we hope to recapture, reuniting with family and friends, an aromatic feast with leftovers that last for a week, football, and an overall attitude adjustment as the crisp air and autumn colors usher in a new season. On rare occasions, we actually talk about the first Thanksgiving and wonder what it was like back then, after God had sustained the small group of new settlers in a foreign land inhabited by strange people, sustained by unfamiliar but delicious new crops, all without the comforts of home, totally dependent on God.

Often, it’s a time for sharing what we are thankful for, and if our gratitude is genuine, acknowledging the one responsible for our blessings by thanking God instead of just saying, “I’m thankful for_____.”  We express our thanks for what God has done in our past and present without giving much thought to the future. This is just the way our culture is. We live in the here and now. It’s hard for us to even imagine giving thanks for something that, in our minds, hasn’t happened yet. 


Lately, God has been urging me to try to see the bigger picture regarding nearly everything in my life, including Thanksgiving. He has been showing me that He always speaks in the context of what He has done and spoken through those who have come before me. For example, when God invited Moses to join Him as He laid out His plan to release His children from their bondage in Egypt and bring them into the Promise Land, He was building on the promises He had previously made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Law, through Moses, showed how God wanted His people to live in order to keep the covenant He had previously made with Abraham. (Covenant first, laws second.)

In fact, every covenant in the Bible was built upon the previous covenants. They were all a part of God’s ongoing purpose of restoring mankind (and His creation) to the way things were before sin ruined everything. God’s plan to redeem mankind is still unfolding. It started with God establishing a people of His own (the Jews) through whom He would display to the world His love for them and how an unholy people could live with and relate to a holy God.

God’s ongoing plan was expressed in stages, small steps based on man’s ability to comprehend his total dependence on His creator. These steps took the form of covenants made with key people throughout the history of the Old Testament-covenants God made with Abraham, Moses, David, and others. We are living in the days of the final covenant-the New Covenant, officially ushered in through Christ’s death on the cross-a covenant containing, for the first time, the power to keep it. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, God would empower His people with the power of His Son living within the life of every true follower of Jesus Christ.

All this background brings us back to Thanksgiving and the point of this article. The God who promised Abraham, led Moses, worked miracles through Elijah and directed Paul, is the same God who has invited us today to join Him as He completed the work He began thousands of years ago. We are the vessels through which God will complete His plan to redeem the world. Apart from us, it will not happen.

Think about that! The God of the universe has invited us to join Him in the most ambitious, far-reaching and transformational endeavor in the history of the world. We are called to take part in something much larger than ourselves-something with unequaled meaning and significance-something that will really make a difference-something of eternal consequence.

Is this not something for which we should be eternally thankful? As Christians, we have the opportunity to share with others the good news that has changed us forever. We don’t have to keep it to ourselves. We can Join our Heavenly Father in taking the good news to the ends of the earth.

Let’s make this Thanksgiving one like no other. We can still enjoy everything that makes it special to us, but let’s add a new dimension this year. It will change us and those around us.

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