Brothers and Sisters,
I once had lunch with an atheist friend at Ikea and was utterly perplexed when I saw him bow his head before a plate of Swedish meatballs. He told me he was “giving thanks.” Interesting, I thought. Giving thanks to whom?
On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation devoting Thursday, November 26 of that year as a day of service and thanks to “that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.” Nearly a century later, congress established Thanksgiving as an annual holiday
Tomorrow, we will join our fellow citizens in a fleeting moment of national unity as we all give thanks. When we do, the question that will be on my mind is this one: to whom will we and our neighbors give our thanks?
I’m reminded of Andrew Peterson’s Don’t You Want to Thank Someone:
Don't you ever wonder why
In spite of all that's wrong here
There's still so much that goes so right
And beauty abounds?
'Cause sometimes when you walk outside
The air is full of song here
The thunder rolls and the baby sighs
And the rain comes down
And when you see the spring has come
And it warms you like a mother's kiss
Don't you want to thank someone?
Don't you want to thank someone for this?
Even the hardest hearted sinners want to thank someone. Though so many have suppressed the truth about that Someone in unrighteousness (Rom 1:21), they will nevertheless come to the table tomorrow, ready to give thanks.
And the question remains: to whom will they give thanks?
1,735 years before Washington, the apostle Paul issued a “proclamation” of his own. He urged us to devote every moment to prayerful thanksgiving, offered not to the indistinct “Being” of Washington’s proclamation but the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 4:13).
And, so, I will pray for us all tomorrow as we sit with those who want to thank someone but know perilously little of that Someone to whom we all owe our thanks.
I pray we all enjoy the many blessings of food, faith, and family tomorrow. And may the grace of God afford us opportunities to lead our loved ones in giving thanks—openly, verbally, and winsomely—to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from whom all blessings flow.
Your Brother in Christ,