It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. A day when families and friends come together over groaning tables of food to eat, visit, eat, watch football and movies and eat. The holiday is a tradition that I look forward to every year. I love turkey dinner and the family all around.
But I read something today that really pricked my heart. I can't even tell you where I read it but it went something like this: "If a Martian from outer space came on Thanksgiving day and observed the great preparations at your house, might they conclude that your family worships the great turkey goddess."
Ouch. What would one stranger think, with no understanding of Thanksgiving, as he peeked into my home this weekend? Would he discern the true meaning of thanksgiving and what it was that we were celebrating? Would he see everything and everyone focused on preparing the decoations just so? Or would he see my family preparing our hearts for worship service at church? Would he see everyone spending hours preparing enough food for a small army that cannot possibly be eaten by the number of people attending or would he see my family packing a box of Thanksgiving food supplies for a family in need?
Would this stranger observe me saying a prayer of thankfulness for all my "things" or would he see my heart broken in thankfullness for God's great love and mercy and everything Jesus endured upon the cross for my salvation? Would he see my thankfulness as a surface kind of selfish thankfulness, uttered in a quick prayer at the Thanksgiving table or would he see me reach out to the hurting as an extension of that deep thankfulness to God as a constant thing in my life?
Yes, what would this stranger think?
I am pricked in my heart to truly make this Thanksgiving one of deep significance that goes beyond a Turkey dinner and extends past the holiday into my everyday.
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,
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.
- Samuel F. Pugh