I love Thanksgiving.
But I must admit that I fall into the traditional "American" practice of Thanksgiving more than I should. Most Americans see Thanksgiving as "the" day to give thanks-sort of. Let's be honest, for most of us its a day consumed with feasting, fellowshipping and football. As a kid my cousins would come over every year. There was always the pre-requisite football game in the street which meant dodging cars and getting your knees torn up. Afterwards, the turkey would be carved, piles of stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie would be heaped onto huge plates. Everyone cleaned their plates. And then of course, there was the post-feast nap. What a great day!
But as Thanksgiving 2006 marches closer, I am searching this year for a different meaning. I am not looking for a more sublime or esoteric sense of the day, but a deeper appreciation as to who God is and His work in my life. In this pursuit, I came across a favored Psalm, Psalm 100:4 which states that we are to "enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."
Compared to the modern American practice of Thanksgiving, this is an unfamiliar. I think what David was trying to suggest in this Psalm is that we are to actively enter into God's presence with one goal in mind- praise. Why? Not for all that He has done for us but for all that He is. And that is a radical change of view. Its really easy to praise and thank God when the Thanksgiving table groans with food. But would I praise Him if I was destitute?
Am I going to feast, nap and play football with my kids on Thanksgiving? You bet. But beforehand, I want to savor and praise God for who He is before I thank him for all of the blessings.