I love Thanksgiving. I really do! Why? Well for one, it’s the only holiday that hasn’t been overly commercialized yet, unless you count grocery stores.
We eat. We visit family. We eat some more. We watch a football game. We eat again.
Speaking of eating, here is an interesting Thanksgiving lyric: “When turkey’s on the table laid, and good things I may scan, I’m thankful that I wasn’t made… a vegetarian.” -Edward Guest
I especially love Thanksgiving because we are given the rare opportunity to surround ourselves with loved ones and be thankful, for our friends, our family but especially be thankful for a God who loves us, forgives us, restores us and showed us the way by sending Jesus Christ to die and rise again, all for us.
Moravian Blessing: Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be, And bless these gifts, Bestowed by Thee. And bless our loved ones everywhere, And keep them in Your loving care.
Favorite Thanksgiving Hymn: “We Gather Together” At the time the hymn was written, the Dutch were engaged in a war of national liberation against the Catholic King Philip II of Spain. “We gather together” chronicles those difficult and often violent times. “We Gather Together” by Theodore Baker, 1894
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
Favorite Thanksgiving Scripture: Psalm 100 contains nothing but praise and thanksgiving to God. Shout, worship, come singing are all action words challenging us to respond to God filled with all the excitement and energy we can summon.
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.
In the midst of celebrating thanksgiving, we are reminded to pray for the needs of others. John Wesley wrote: “I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God’s creational intentions” — (Posted by Lisa Barbery)
So, as we prepare to celebrate thanksgiving, I share a prayer that allows us to be thankful for the many blessings we have but at the same time reminds us of our responsibility to remember and then help those less fortunate.
“Help Me” by Samuel F. Pugh
O God, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry.
When I have work, help me to remember the jobless.
When I have a home, help me to remember those who have no home at all.
When I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer.
And remembering, help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion, and be concerned enough to help
by word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted. Amen.