Since I am a pastor, most of you probably assume that my favorite holiday would be Christmas or Easter. To a certain extent, you would be right. Easter is by far my favorite of the major Christian holidays. However, my favorite holiday is actually Thanksgiving! There are many reasons why one may enjoy Thanksgiving. First, I believe it is the best food holiday. There is nothing better than a Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes. I also personally just enjoy making all of the food. This year will be my second time hosting dinner. I also enjoy the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The floats and the balloons are always so impressive. I also enjoy watching football on Thanksgiving Day. I am a fan of the Chicago Bears, who are a part of the NFC North. There is always a game played by the teams in this division. So, the Bears play a lot on Thanksgiving. Then, most importantly, I enjoy being with friends and family on Thanksgiving Day. These were things that I appreciated the most about Thanksgiving as I was growing up.
However, as I started getting older, I began to reflect more on the reason why we celebrate Thanksgiving. For many, Thanksgiving is a time when we are called to reflect on how we are grateful and to count our blessings. People stress the importance of focusing on the riches we have in Christ. People stress the importance of discerning between the things we want and the things we need. For many, Thanksgiving is a time to be thoughtful, and as my siblings and I got older our parents tried to practice this. We, like many families, did the whole going around the table and saying what you are grateful for. Overall, I do think this is a great activity, and it did help me to be more aware of things and the people in my life. I also know now that these things come from God, and I am indeed grateful. However, is this really the point of Thanksgiving? To a certain extent, yes this is what Thanksgiving is about. We are called to recognize the ways God has been active in our lives and to be grateful for God’s actions. However, Thanksgiving is also a time when we are reminded that we are called to be thankful disciples. We are called to live our gift of faith.
I enjoyed doing all the activities that I listed above, and I will remember them. However, my most memorable Thanksgiving Day memories are when my father started taking me and my siblings to volunteer at the local soup kitchen. We would wake up on Thanksgiving Day and load up into the van and go to the kitchen. There we prepared food and served it. It was not a hard job. It was actually quite easy and simple. However, it was a good job, and these instances are the Thanksgiving memories I am most grateful for. So, as we continue on through the rest of November and through Thanksgiving let us continue in gratitude. Not just in thoughtfulness, but in love and action. "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." —Colossians 3:17 Amen.
Peace and Blessings, Pastor Ethan Doan