Thanksgiving. First celebrated by Pilgrims in 1621, it was a tradition they brought with them from England.
Protestants wanted to celebrate God’s providence with thanksgiving. And they wanted to commemorate seasons of judgment – drought, flooding, pestilence – with fasting.
Scripturally, we see God’s call to gratitude and thanksgiving in such verses as Psalm 28:7, Psalm 69:30, and Psalm 95:1-6.
I love a holiday that legitimately calls me to thankfulness. And yes, I love turkey.And the family dinner roll recipe.
This year has been one of my most successful ever as an author. Starting at the end of February, I spent nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list with a four-year-old book, The Wedding Dress. The book also spent a good bit of time on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.
I just sat back, watching the Lord work. The combination of an Amazon sale and a bit of advertising from my publisher, and the book achieved new heights.
In June, my husband and I enjoyed a great vacation. First with extended family, then just the two of us at a lakeside cabin.
Halfway through the years, I had more good news come my way, and more dreams are coming true.
But you know what? I struggled. My pessimistic side emerged. “What will next year look like?” “Will this keep happening?” “What does this success really mean?” “Look at what’s going on with that author. She’s doing so much better than me.”
Here I am in the midst of God blessing me and I’m wondering about the future. Or I’m assuming another’s success will kill my own.
Children of Israel in the wilderness anyone? “God, what are you doing? Where are you taking us? We don’t have good food to eat? My feet are sore.”
By the time August rolled around and we were in a position to buy my dream car, a Mustang convertible, I was in knots.
God had provided so much, and yet I got fixed on “What about next year? What about taxes?”
I couldn’t sleep. I had no peace. I was gripped by soul-deep fear.
We bought the car the night before I had to head out of town. I came straight home from the dealer, parked the car and went inside. I should’ve been thrilled! Ecstatic! Jumping for joy! Instead, I wrestled with ugly emotions and thoughts.
I won’t bore you with those details, but I’d given into the one who steals, kills and destroys.
Around eleven p.m., I wasn’t sleeping. So, I grabbed my guitar and headed to the garage. I paced alongside the ‘Stang, singing to a melody two chords could produce. That’s all I know on the guitar: two chords. But the power of worship knows no bounds.
Not five minutes into singing, my heart before the Lord, He answered. “Sing this. ‘My car is a gift from my Father and He holds my future in His hands.'”
With tears, I sang His song over me and in moments the anxiety and darkness of my decision lifted. I went to bed and slept soundly.
The more I drive my red Mustang, the more I love it. But it took the Father’s perspective to physically change my mind, my heart, and my emotions.
When Thanksgiving is opposed by the enemy, it must be met with the power of the Holy Spirit. Anyone can wrestle their anger, jealousy, envy, lust into submission for a while. And we all war against our negative, sinful selves.
But it’s an encounter with the living Lord that truly changes us.
I’m not all the way there. I still wrestle with issues from time to time, but I know He’s calling me to something higher and greater. If He wants it for me and I’m running after him, how will I not be changed?
So this Thanksgiving, be thankful. Eat turkey and bake your grandma’s pie recipe. Those traditions can’t be beat. But let the thankfulness of your heart be met with the One who changes us from death to life.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for each one of you. Thank you for being such a wonderful blessing on my writer’s journey.
What has God shown you about Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for this year?