Family. Friends. Food. Finances.
I imagine these are some of the top things that will be voiced as many people gather around Thanksgiving tables on Thursday.
Health, Jobs, House.
All very good things and all things worth being thankful for, no doubt.
When the kids were younger, I would cut out pretty leaf-shapes from orange, yellow and brown construction paper and each of us would daily write what we were thankful for on the leaves. By the time Thanksgiving got here, a door in our kitchen was covered in leaves, each word written representing a grateful heart. Toys. Church. Friends. Cousin names. Grandparent names.
And while I always appreciated a good leaf-covered door or going around the table telling each other what we were thankful for, there always seemed to be a bit of hollowness or immaturity that echoed in my heart. Sometimes it felt like “I am thankful that I get all the things that I want and like.”
And there was that time in South Georgia around the overflowing tables in the Dorminy home when the challenge was given to not name the same thing as someone else. Once “family” got taken, Uncle Tony bluntly said, “Oh sure. You take the easy one.” I am sure all of us waiting our turn were gonna say that!
But yesterday in church, Pastor Robert said it so perfectly as he preached Psalm 100. He gave you, me, and Uncle Tony our new answer for Thursday. Sure, you can fear sounding overly spiritual, but the truth is the truth.
And no matter how well you get along with your family, no matter how delicious grandma’s dressing tastes or Aunt Dixie’s cranberry relish, no matter the friendships you enjoy, the toys you have to play with, no matter the overflowing bank account, no matter how healthy you feel….nothing trumps the answer to “Why are you thankful?” better than Psalm 100:4-5
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; Bless His name!
For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.”
The Lord is good. His love for me never runs out. He will never forsake me.
I much prefer this answer over the list of things and people we are thankful for (though there is nothing wrong with listing the things or names of people!).
But some years families are separated by miles, some years grandma will no longer be here on earth with us to make her dressing. Some years we feel we don’t have a friend in the world, we can’t pay our mortgage, cancer invades our bodies. Some years marriages are strained.
But Psalm 100 stands true even if you are reluctantly gathering around the Thanksgiving table and dreading the question to come about why you are thankful. Like we would tell our kids when they didn’t want to say anything, “Everyone can think of one thing to be thankful for!”
And, indeed, we do all have the one answer. The answer that remains no matter what our circumstances….Say it with me: “The Lord is good. His steadfast love endures forever and His faithfulness to all generations.”