There are days when giving thanks often feels like moving mountains in my life. It shouldn’t be that way, because when I make the effort to find something to acknowledge gratefulness for , immediately my heart is lighter. And in reality, we have so much to give thanks for. The spirit of thankfulness is found embedded in the simplicity of a piece of wood fitted together with an iron nail. The wood and nail symbolize the beauty of communion at the table and the sacrifice on a Cross at Calvary.
Does Thanksgiving only happen on the 4th Thursday of November? Is this the only time when we are to remember and to account for the gifts we have been given?
When we make time to give thanks to God, there is no room for anything else but praise for His provision in our thoughts. When our thoughts are consumed with the good things He has done, we spill forth into others, easily, the blessing that he has poured into us.
And isn’t that what Thanksgiving is about? Praise for the provision from the hand of the Almighty.
Any student of history can tell you the story, most Americans think they know it, but this holiday of remembering thankfulness, it is not just rooted in American legend. It is nestled in the celebrations that scripture unfolds for us to practice daily.
And still, this holiday, which brings family to the table to remember, should also set the tone for our journey to the stable which leads to a Cross. This traveling to thankfulness is a solemn and joyous trip, one-in-the same, preparing us to receive a gift of great worth; preparing us to give abundantly of all we have.
Sometimes, we need to fully understand loss and the bending of surrender before there can ever be a celebration of thankfulness.
Just like in Plymouth, the surrender to the elements took its toll and there was a melting of families, of community, and of hope in the midst of great loss; so, too, we find ourselves in a pilgrim moment today. Life tends to be in a continual state of sojourning, sometimes we are grieving, and sometimes we are rejoicing. Most the time we are just trying to put one foot in front of the other, or maybe keep our head above water. Many times we are trying to reason and rationalize why life collects moments that are painful and difficult. As the tandem of life makes its circle in our own, we are each affected by some sway of the pendulum. We can cry both tears of joy and tears of sorrow, together, mingling to create a precious path of awareness in our soul all pointing to the revelation of a need. This need can only be filled by remembering the importance of the wood and the nail.
The very idea that a piece of wood, filled with nails, made sacred by sacrifice, exemplifies the spirit of thanksgiving possible in every circumstance, good and bad, and shows us the way to celebrate hope eternally.
When we gather together to break bread, at the table of wood, also filled with nails, we bow in the admission of our need for His blessing. Our sacrifice; though not the same as the one on a tree pounded by blood stained iron, is felt in our giving. And this Bread of Life, the one that fills us with the heavenly substance which was broken for our sins, so we in like manner break bread and pause to give thanks for the sustaining it provides.
Our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the One so deserving of our pause, it brings a sanctification to the moment. The collective surrender to the LORD in the celebration, opens the door for the blessing to be poured out. I am humbled and in awe of the purpose which He directs in our celebration towards. It is a time of reflection and remembrance. A moment hallowed by His Presence so that we never forget the power of the blessing or our need for the Blesser.
The wood and the nail draw my eyes to reflect the power of this Thanksgiving Spirit we must surrender to, and reminds me that a thankful heart understands the significance of sharing that gift with others.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving: let us make a joyful noise to Him with psalms. ~Psalm 95:2
This week as we gather together with friends and family, I pray that your thanksgiving holiday is the beginning of the journey from your table of communing to the stable where His love was born. Advent will start this weekend, and I can’t wait to share some thoughts on this sacred time of pilgrimage. When I think of Thanksgiving, it always brings me to a place of anticipation as I prepare for a second celebration, the one that Thanksgiving prepares our hearts to look towards. Advent means coming, and is is a journey of preparation. May this Thanksgiving be full of traditions, laughter, hope, and prayer as you begin to prepare your heart to journey to the stable, looking for the Savior, who is the reason for which we truly give thanks!
May His blessing surround your tables as you break bread and partake of the communion of hearts, giving thanks together.
Thankful for friends to share grace with this Thanksgiving.