Message summary: Today let us join the truly wise and “heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord” and “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever”.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1). “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 107:43).
Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA. Hopefully, like us, you have some warm childhood memories of this day. We’ll share some of ours hoping to stimulate you into your own reminiscence.
Brooksyne: I recall the long trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Mountain Top, Arkansas. Unfortunately the 180 mile trip always meant I would deal with car sickness, both coming and going from our home in Tulsa, Oklahoma but the visit made it worth it. They lived way up on a mountain and we traveled dirt or often muddy roads for about 25 miles to reach their place. Grandpa had a 200 acre farm with plenty of animals so there were gates to open as we approached. Once we reached the first gate Daddy started honking his horn and would honk it all the way to their house – that way they knew their oldest son, Brooklyn Sherrell and his family of seven, had arrived for Thanksgiving. I can still feel a little of the excitement and anticipation once Daddy started honking because I knew Grandma and Grandpa would hear it and head out to their front yard waving to us as our car approached their house – and then the hugs and kisses began!
Roles changes as we got older and we began to host the meals. Now a knock on the door signals the arrival of family members and friends – maybe from near, maybe from a distance. It’s a day of bear hugs, broad smiles, parades and football games, childish antics, happy tears, exchanging family news and gossip and many stories of “remember when”.
We look around and see the room filled with family members and realize this is neither our grandparent’s home nor our parent’s. It is ours, and we realize that then has become now – those yesterdays have become today.
We are the adults; indeed we are the elders. Where did the time go, when did all of this happen? It took place so gradually, so quietly, we never realized it. We still visit our parent’s and grandparents’ homes during holidays such as this – but in memories only.* We are now the parents and grandparents (and even great-grandparents). We hope those who come behind us have memories as good as ours!Ecclesiastes 1:4 states, “Generations come and generations go”.
Thank God for the timeless, inter-generational teachings of the Word of God. Some three thousand years ago the Psalmist wrote our daily Scripture portion.
The Psalm begins with“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever”.
- A command: “Give thanks to the Lord”
- A reason:“for He is good”
- A promise:“His love endures forever”
Today we implore the truly wise to “heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord”.
Be encouraged today and have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
* Brooksyne found the idea of reflections regarding the passing of time and memories over the years in her collection of writings but was unable to identify the author(s).
Special Thanksgiving Resources
We offer these resources to families and church leaders to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Thankful For The Thorns”: A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. (Note: You will need a good reader who should be given the story ahead of time to review so that it’s read with expression and clarity.) For many of us the Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Here’s an idea for sharing together around the table the theme of “Thankful for the Thorns” (printable webpage). “A Thanksgiving family exercise” (pdf)We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal. A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service many years ago. (blog post) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.
A Thanksgiving Scripture reading:A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)
A Suggestion for a Family Tradition from our long-time friend Bob Southard: After the turkey, the cranberries, the pie, we all get out our Bibles to read our favorite thanksgiving verse. From the youngest to the oldest we share God’s Word and tell why it is so special to us!
Possible Discussion around the table: July 22, 1620 – The pilgrims set sail for the new world and the setting is described by William Bradford in his journal: “So they left that goodly and pleasant city which had been their resting place for twelve years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and looked not much on those things, but lifted their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirit and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took leave of one another, which proved to the last leave to many of them.” How would you feel if you were boarding the ship? How would you feel if you were saying good-bye to your loved one?
Suggestions for Present Day Thanksgiving: Preparations for Thanksgiving is time consuming but you might have extra time over the Thanksgiving weekend to enhance your celebration, especially if you have children present, by including some historical foods and activities present on the Mayflower or in Plimouth in the fall of 1621:
Games played by the children during the first harvest festival – Arm wrestling, broad jump, racing competition, bow and arrow competition. The girls spent most of their time helping moms with food preparation during the three day gathering. If you have a mortar and pestle the girls can mash dried herbs and spices in preparation for seasoning veggies and such.
Food Samples – Some of the food on board the Mayflower was hardtack (ship’s biscuits), dried beef, and hard cheese.