Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner #2

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Since I blogged about table prayers on a previous post, I thought I would include this prayer we sing before meals at our Vineyard Via de Cristo retreat weekends.  Once again, we are inviting Jesus to take part in the meal with us.

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Thankful for Stress!!

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Giving thanks to God is easy when times are good. Sitting around the table this Thanksgiving with family, it is easy to remember why I am so blessed and thankful for all of the things that God has given me. But what about in the more trying of times? I have always been a person who dislikes conflicts and gives in easily to stress, so there are certainly times when I am not feeling very thankful. Usually it is just something small- a stressful day at work, a real estate deal that fell through, or an angry customer or client. Do I give thanks to God for my blessings during these times? Nope- instead, I usually resort to self pity, complaining, and sharing the conflicts around with friends and family members.

Reading this verse helps me put things into perspective:

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

It is important to remember how insignificant the specifics of each day are; it is just a drop in the pool of what is the ‘big picture’ or ‘God’s Plan’. It is comforting to take peace in knowing that everything is a part of this large plan; and that instead of feeling stressed, I need to look for the learning experience and grow from each small catastrophe in life. God is great and life is good!!

Teaching Thanksgiving

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“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.”  Deuteronomy 11:18-19

I was in South Carolina this week with my daughter and my granddaughter.  Both of them said in elementary school, they were taught that the thanksgiving feast was about the pilgrims thanking the Indians for their help in surviving the winter.  I explained that although they may have invited the Indians as a gesture and friendship and thanks, the primary intention of the pilgrims was to thank God, who brought them to the new world and graciously provided for them there.

This led me to think about how we all have a responsibility to teach God’s truth, not only our children, but everyone with whom we come in contact. In the anecdote above, you can see how quickly even historical truth can become perverted by the world.  If we don’t teach God’s word, in a generation or two, it may be lost.  This happened in the Bible (for an example, read about King Josiah in 2 Kings chapters 22 and 23) and it happens today.  Martin Luther wrote the catechism so that parents could teach their children about God each day in their own home, not just once a week in church.

So don’t allow Thanksgiving to become “turkey day”.  Use it as reminder to have an attitude of thanks every day, all year long.  Let your children, your grandchildren, your friends and neighbors know that you are thankful to the God for all that you have and are.

 

Martin Luther on Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving Thoughts from Martin Luther Excerpts from Luther’s Large Catechism (1529) The Explanation of the First Article of the Apostles Creed

I hold and believe that I am God’s creature, that is, that he has given me and constantly sustains my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, my reason and understanding, and the like; my food and drink, clothing, nourishment, spouse and children, servants, house and farm, etc. Besides, he makes all creation help provide the benefits and necessities of life—sun, moon, and stars in the heavens; day and night; air, fire, water, the earth and all that it yields and brings forth; birds, fish, animals, grain, and all sorts of produce. Moreover, he gives all physical and temporal blessings—good government, peace, security. Thus we learn from this article that none of us has life—or anything else that has been mentioned here or can be mentioned—from ourselves, nor can we by ourselves preserve any of them, however small and unimportant. All this is comprehended in the word ―Creator.‖ Moreover, we also confess that God the Father has given us not only all that we have and what we see before our eyes, but also that he daily guards and defends us against every evil and misfortune, warding off all sorts of danger and disaster. All this he does out of pure love and goodness, without our merit, as a kind father who cares for us so that no evil may befall us. Hence, because everything we possess, and everything in heaven and on earth besides, is daily given, sustained, and protected by God, it inevitably follows that we are in duty bound to love, praise, and thank him without ceasing, and, in short, to devote all these things to his service, as he has required and enjoined in the Ten Commandments. Here much could be said if we were to describe how few people believe this article. We all pass over it; we hear it and recite it, but we neither see nor think about what the words command us to do. For if we believed it with our whole heart, we would also act accordingly, and not swagger about and boast and brag as if we had life, riches, power, honor, and such things of ourselves, as if we ourselves were to be feared and served. This is the way the wretched, perverse world acts, drowned in its blindness, misusing all the blessings and gifts of God solely for its own pride, greed, pleasure, and enjoyment, and never once turning to God to thank him or acknowledge him as Lord or Creator. Therefore, if we believe it, this article should humble and terrify all of us. For we sin daily with eyes, ears, hands, body and soul, money and property, and with all that we have, especially those who even fight against the Word of God. Yet Christians have this advantage, that they acknowledge that they owe it to God to serve and obey him for all these things. For this reason we ought daily to practice this article, impress it upon our minds, and remember it in everything we see and in every blessing that comes our way. Whenever we escape distress or danger, we should recognize how God gives and does all of this so that we may sense and see in them his fatherly heart and his boundless love toward us. Thus our hearts will be warmed and kindled with gratitude to God and a desire to use all these blessings to his glory and praiseThanksgiving Thoughts from Martin Luther Excerpts from Luther’s Large Catechism (1529) The Explanation of the First Article of the Apostles Creed

A Thanksgiving Prayer

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What Are You Thankful For?

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One of my daughters lives in another state, so we try to write letters to each other now and then.  To encourage our writing, we sometimes pick a “theme” to think and write about.  Last year around Thanksgiving, we chose to discuss “what are you thankful for?”  Guess what?  Neither of us put anything having to do with success, money or things on our “thankful” list. Neither list included a promotion or bonus, stylish clothing, a cruise or a face lift. Instead our lists mentioned God (our faith, our church), other people (family, friends), a job to provide for our daily needs, and good health so that we could do the things we enjoyed and be able to serve others.

Does this mean my daughter and I are especially good people?  I don’t think so.  I believe that most of us, if asked to stop and think seriously about the important things in life, would come up with a very similar list.

The real puzzler is this– why we don’t live according to what we know in our hearts is most important? We get caught up in the day to day so easily that it often seems like the small things –shopping, earning more money, redecorating our home or buying a better car – are the big things.  We take for granted the daily blessings we receive through God’s grace.

Spending more time in God’s word would remind us of our true priorities.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, “the preacher” tells us that most of the things we strive for are “vanity” or in another translation “meaningless.”  He advises us to find pleasure in ordinary, daily life :  “eat your bread with joy” (Ecclesiastes 9:7); “enjoy life with the wife whom you love (Ecclesiastes 9:9) and “find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun.”  Then he adds, “this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:20)

This year I want to remind myself that thanksgiving is not simply a day, it is a right attitude toward God every day. If I am constantly “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) I will be thankful all the time.  “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”(Psalm 118:24)

New Month/New Theme

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Can you believe it’s November already? This is my husband’s favorite time of the year.  The air is turning crisp and cool (he likes cool, I like warm).  The fall decorations have been brought out at church — pumpkins, gourds, apples, and other symbols of a successful harvest surround the altar area. The scenery is beautiful as the leaves change colors. We’re looking forward to our annual November trip to South Carolina to visit our daughter, Kate and her husband.

Most of all, November is a time for giving thanks.  As the end of the year approaches, it’s a good time to stop and reflect.  Am I thankful?  (I should be).  Why am I thankful? (God has given me many good gifts, starting with His son, Jesus).  How do I show my thanks? (do I worship and praise Him?  Do I pass His love on?)

All of these questions are food for thought, and I know the Lutheran Ladies will be discussing these ideas and more this month.  So spend some quality time giving thanks, read our posts, and tell us how giving thanks makes a difference in your life and the lives of those around you.

God loves you and so do we!

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