If I was stranded on a deserted island and I could only celebrate one holiday, I think it would be Thanksgiving.
Not that I have anything against any other holiday, but Thanksgiving in my experience is just about the clearest picture I have of what I imagine Heaven to be like.
Thanksgiving is full of all the goodness we can muster. We pull out all the stops. The gathering is about gathering. It’s a celebration of being alive and having enough…more than enough. It is true that not all have a “happy” Thanksgiving, but I have seen entire families spend the holiday making sure others can eat and have a day of warmth and cheer. This is a day where we spend more time than usual simply giving thanks. It is a day where blessings are not only counted, but often shared.
Some will note the holiday’s roots in a suspect version of history where an indigenous people group shared a meal with a group of colonizers all of which had reason to celebrate…a successful harvest and the promise of living through the coming winter. Thanks-worthy, indeed!
Without dismissing the importance of examining our history and the ways we interpret it, I appreciate the way this holiday draws me to do what I desire to do every day. I love that for a time I am reminded what grace and blessing and plenty can look like.
So, as I sit in a warm and cozy home the day after Thanksgiving, I am still filled with gratitude. I am continuing to bring to mind all for which I have to be thankful. I may be most thankful for the yearly pause to draw near to God and family for no other reason than to delight in the presence of both.
What would the world look like if we treated more of our days like Thanksgiving days? Would we make time and space in our lives for others? Would we share more? Would we become more grateful people? Would we find more reasons to delight in what we have instead of striving for more? Maybe if we stared living this way, others would become curious and join us? As our numbers grew, we’d have even more to share. We’d have even greater resources and talents to offer. We’d be caught up in an entirely different harvest (Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 10:2). Women and men and children coming together to share a life of thanksgiving, not just a day or even a season.
Heaven on Earth. Living and loving and sharing and being thankful together. For the glimpses I’ve received of such a dream, I again say “Thank You, God.” Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s to living my thanks all year through. Here’s to giving thanks with others.
Life is better together, especially when our togetherness is filled with gratitude and thanksgiving.