Giving Thanks and Thankful Giving

Life Notes—November 24, 2010

From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.  Luke 12: 48b 

Thanksgiving used to be my least favorite holiday.  There were no presents, no fireworks, no Easter bunny or valentines.  I thought the parades on television were dumb.  And the food?  I ate everyday, so where was the fun in that?  Eating turkey didn’t excite me, as it seemed little more than chicken on steroids.  Our family had to pile into the car and drive for an hour or two to be with relatives, some of whom I barely knew. Thanksgiving was my least favorite holiday because there was nothing in it for me. 

Today, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Why?  For starters, there are no presents, fireworks, Easter bunnies or valentines, so there is less pressure.  Thanksgiving is all about food, family, friends, fellowship and football.  And I am all about every one of those (still not a big fan of the parades, however).  And yet, there is a deeper significance to Thanksgiving that is easily lost in the bustle. 

Being thankful and giving.  It is a traditional day of thanks for the harvest.  A day to count our blessings and be grateful for the bounty God provides.  I am thankful for my wife and children and home and job and family and friends and church and that I live in a country where I can worship as I please and move freely from place to place (albeit with the occasional body scan). 

But there is another part to Thanksgiving that is too often overlooked—giving.  I was taught the first Thanksgiving celebration was a fellowship between the settlers and the Native Americans.  It was an event where the bounty of one group was shared with another.  Like most American holidays, we tend to celebrate to excess.  While I am thankful for the ability to do so, I also realize, guiltily, that I will eat to excess for days, get very tired of the leftovers, and throw much of it away.  My mother’s words from long ago come back to me: “There are starving children in India…”  Trite?  Maybe.  True? Absolutely.  And not just in India.  And not just for food.  As we give thanks this Thanksgiving, let us also remember that from those to whom much has been given, much is also required.  And the needs are great, locally and internationally.  When we find ways to share our excess, we give others reason to be thankful, too.  

This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent and the theme is Hope.  Tom will be preaching downtown. Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall, and traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Mitch will preach at the west campus, where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  And have a wonderful Thanks and Giving!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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