A few weeks ago Joy and I took the kids to see "Free Birds". which was a pretty funny movie apparently made by a vegan! The time traveling turkey's went back in history to change the menu at the first Thanksgiving feast. The underlying message of the movie will not have many people trading in Turkey for Tofu this week. Come Thursday people will travel for miles and begin that traditional time of feasting, football, and family.
Here are some some quick thoughts for enjoying Thanksgiving:
1. Cultivate Thankfulness.
Thankfulness and bitterness are contradictory. Bitterness is the absence of thankfulness; thankfulness is the absence of bitterness. Being thankful and enjoying life reflects the goodness of the gospel in your life. Thanksgiving should be a time to express gratitude for all Christ has done for us. Because of Jesus and in spite of our circumstances we can be thankful, it is God's will, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, ESV)
2. Unite Your Family.
The first four year of marriage for Joy and I were constant fights over where we would be during the holiday's. It was not because we didn't like each others families, sadly it was because of sinful selfishness. In our second year of marriage Joy went to her family and I went to my family; which was terrible leadership on my part. If there is one piece of advice I could give, it would be this, keep your family together during the holidays. Yes you will have to plan, you may have to rotate where you go yearly, it might require laying down your rights; but never separate your family during the holidays.
3. Enjoy Your Family.
Extended families could make your question the sovereignty of God…but resist the thought and enjoy your family:) It is just a waste of life and time to not enjoy your family. Holidays are not a burden to be under, but a celebration to be cherished. I tell young couples repeatedly, God gave you the family you have, enjoy your family. When we manifest joy we manifest God's kingdom here on earth, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17, ESV). Circumstances should not determine your joy, enjoy the family you have they are a gift from God.
4. Manifest Jesus.
Holidays are great opportunities to witness as we manifest the gospel in our families and marriages. Gossip, bitterness, complaining, selfishness, arguing, anger, etc….is not the salt we need to flavor the food around the table. Christians should be the most hopeful and thankful people on the planet, don't miss out on the opportunity to be salt and light this Thanksgiving. “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matthew 5:13, ESV)
Jesus reminds us in the story of Healing The Ten Lepers how easy it is for us to take blessings and goodness for granted. Jesus affirmed the one leper who returned to express gratitude, “Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:17–19, ESV) May we all cultivate thankfulness, love our families, and manifest Jesus as we feast on Turkey and watch my Bulldogs beat the Webels at this years Egg Bowl!