I have four of the world’s best daughter-in-laws, and my one and only son-in-law is right up there with the best of them too! He is warm, quiet, affectionate, generous, always helpful, devout, ingenious, artistic, and usually has a bit of a smirk on his face, which I presume is his creative imagination kicking in to add a bit of humorous (albeit silent) commentary to life. I wouldn’t trade him for a barrel of monkeys or anything else you might offer! All this intro is so you don’t misinterpret his wry pseudonym for Thanksgiving, which is (as you’ve probably guessed) “Thanksgetting.” So, what are you doing for Thanksgetting tomorrow? Lord willing, we’ll do what we most often do: Gather with those of our family who are able to come and share a Thanksgiving “feast,” and then we’ll sit in a circle around a candle-lit coffee table in our living room and play “The Thankful Game.” Do you ever play that game? It’s a time of reflecting on all the blessings we’ve received over the past year from God, and we go around the circle sharing one by one, round and round until we all seem content that we’ve remembered to give thanks to God for all the most important things we’ve gotten from him. It’s really an opportunity to recognize God’s goodness in our lives and a great way to worship Him, whether you’re alone for Thanksgiving or in a big group.
However you celebrate, I hope you focus on what you’ve gotten rather than what you’ve given this year, and if it’s been a terrible year where you’ve suffered great loss, perhaps you can think about what you still have. I have a number of friends who’ve had serious physical problems this year, and some who have lost someone precious to them, and my heart grieves for them. Still, after visiting India and Nepal recently, I am reminded of how “good” most of us have it in America. King David suffered terrible losses in his life, and yet he wrote beautiful psalms of praise to God for His goodness and graces. I pray that whatever your circumstances, you’ll be able to say with David: “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116 :17, emphasis mine; notice that sometimes it is actually an act of sacrifice to believe in God, surrender to him, and find reasons to give him thanks in the midst of anguish). “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms” (Psalm 95:2). “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4). “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing” (Psalm 107:22). “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:8).