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Thanksgiving

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2).

     In the comic strip “Baby Blues” today, the young brother is sitting at a table grumbling to his sister. “I have to write a stupid report on Thanksgiving. It just gets in the way of real holidays.” He then begins his report, “Thanksgiving is a speed bump between Halloween and Christmas.”

     Now, I know for the self-indulgent youth in most of us, Halloween, with droves of candy, and Christmas, with piles of presents, far outweigh the mundane prospect of pausing to give thanks for the many blessings we receive. But as I pondered that statement about a speed bump, I began to realize how profound it really is.

     I’m sure you encountered your share of speed bumps through the years. Perhaps you’ve groaned as you’ve traversed the stretch of road littered with these insufferable hindrances placed in your way to deny you your hurried life. But that is exactly the point of speed bumps. They are put there to get your attention, to draw your gaze away from the destination and onto the journey itself.

     And that is the beauty of Thanksgiving. Now, I have to admit that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I’ve never been a fan of Halloween (and if you don’t believe me, just ask my children how I’ve scarred them for life because I didn’t celebrate). I’m also a bit of an Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to Christmas, having the audacity to believe that the incarnation of the Son of God has import for more than just one day a year. But I digress.

     November is truly a month to remember. Just a few days ago, we celebrated Guy Fawkes Day. Well, celebrate is probably a bit overdone here. November 5th is a holiday in Great Britain to celebrate the failed Gunpowder Rebellion of 1605. On November 5, 1605, Guy Fawkes and a group of radical English Roman Catholics tried to assassinate King James I by blowing up Parliament’s House of Lords. The plot went awry and all of the conspirators were executed. Soon after, Britons began to celebrate Fawkes’ demise and the survival of their king by burning effigies, lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks—a tradition which has continued to this day. And we thought they liked their kings! The day is marked by this phrase: “Remember, remember, the 5th of November.”

     Then of course there is the personal reminder I have each year to remember November 27th. Thirty-nine years ago I said “I do” to the lovely Wendy Robinson. I am grateful for the years together, and the three wonderful children, three children-in-laws, and the five grandchildren the Lord has blessed us with. Yes, I will remember.

     But most importantly, we pause as a nation to remember the goodness and bounty that the Lord has given to us over the year. As Andre Crouch wrote so beautifully in 1982:

How can I say thanks
For the things You have done for me?
Things so undeserved
Yet You gave to prove Your love for me
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude
All that I am and ever hope to be
I owe it all to Thee
To God be the glory
To God be the glory
To God be the glory
For the things He has done.

     Yes, we are to remember the many blessings our gracious God has bestowed upon us. And not just once a year, but every single day that we have breath.