THE LATITUDE OF GRATITUDE!
I believe it’s time to face the elephant in the room. I have read the complaints on social media and heard it publicly said that the world is squeezing Thanksgiving out with Christmas, and this is simply poppy cock, to put it mildly. I personally feel that the two seasons should have been combined from the beginning so that we might have the opportunity to better learn to be thankful. Think about it! They thanked God on Thanksgiving Day (or at least that’s the way it started) for His provision of a harvest and game to carry them through the winter. This much I know from this snippet of the writings of the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow: “And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty." These pilgrims were so filled with Thanksgiving that their overflow knew no boundaries, and all were welcome to thank God with them as they all reveled in the fruits of their labor. They understood Psalm 107:21 (NLT), Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
History can be a great teacher for the wise and in the same fashion an equally great destroyer as we learn to settle comfortably into the traditions of our past. I know that there are things God has told us to continue doing for encouragement, but I know as well that there are things that have to change as time passes to remain relevant to this and the current generation. I’ve said this for a long time; I think maybe the people who are the most worried about this one-day (Thanksgiving) aren’t as thankful each day as they know they should be. Thanksgiving is so much more than any of us will allow it to be, simply because we don’t truly understand the latitude of what it means. Giving thanks to God is far deeper than just saying the words “thank you” in prayer or holding a feast in God’s honor or a day of seeing family we seldom see as we stuff ourselves until it hurts, then socialize till the party is over. I’m sure God’s heart breaks that we think so little of Him for who, where, and what we are. We find in Psalm 26:6-7 (NLT), I wash my hands to declare my innocence. I come to your altar, O Lord, 7 singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders.
The way that I believe is, we can’t get “too much Christmas” in Thanksgiving (as this is the beginning of new life), and the more Thanksgiving we have in Christmas the more we’ll experience what Jesus came to do. I have so much to be thankful for that I can’t put it down on paper because God is continually giving me reasons to be thankful faster than I can write. And before you think it, yes, bad things happen to my wife and me, especially with our health but within each setback, God helps us make a great leap forward in our trust and faith in Him. He not only gives those who seek a reason to be thankful, “HE IS” ALL THE REASON WE NEED! I am hearing the song “Because He Lives” which says, “life is worth the living, just because He lives.” Now if that doesn’t cause your heart to jump, you need more time for prayer. Psalm 136:1 (NLT), Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
So, while this frivolous controversy continues as to whether Christmas is overshadowing Thanksgiving let’s become more intentional and deliberate about sharing and showing the God, we are most thankful to and for. After all, if we are to be found truly thankful, we will not be able to contain ourselves. We find in Colossians 3:17 (NLT), And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Through our actions, may He find us pleasingly thankful for Him being the God of our lives. Our thanksgiving is to be as the title states, without limit, as latitude runs from east to west and therefore has no end, so it is to be with our gratitude for who God is in me. The moral is to spend every day thankful and be filled with the qualities of that person you most find good pleasure in meeting.
Lord, I ask you this day to please, clear minds, open eyes, and break hearts as we are in what I call the seasons of thankfulness. Teach us Lord how to be thankful from our deepest parts to live out that which is written in Ephesians 5:20 (NLT), and give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we forever offer continual heartfelt thanks to and for you Lord? Amen
HAVE A BLESSED WEEK BY BEING A BLESSING TO OTHERS!