If you’re American, you are probably aware that Thanksgiving is coming up in two days.
And if you’re not American, you are also probably aware that Thanksgiving is coming up in two days.
It’s kind of a big deal around this whole country, filled with ludicrous amounts of food, televised parades, extended family you might not have seen for quite a long time, stacks of Black Friday fliers, and those Thankfulness Lists that somehow make their way to the table every. single. year. without. fail.
I used to love Thanksgiving, but somewhere along the line, it just got to be cliché in my mind.
I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my house. I’m thankful for my phone. I’m thankful for my job. I’m thankful to be homeschooled. I’m thankful for my church. I’m thankful for…you get the idea.
As a kid, all that thankfulness was cool to me. Yay for acknowledging nice things!
But year after year, I became increasingly dissatisfied. It’s not that I wasn’t thankful for what I had, I was actually quite content. But when it came to Thanksgiving, I found I’d just lost the joy of thankfulness altogether.
Facebook, Twitter, other blogs, and such are filled with those happy posts, asking, “What are YOU thankful for this season? Here’s my list!” filled with hearts and smiley faces and all the things that make up one nice-looking, supposedly-quite-gratified person.
But real, authentic thankfulness, for me, comes from more than just making a list of my stuff. It comes from a heart of joy.
Joy is something marvelous, honestly. Even when things are excruciating, joy can still be found. Because joy…it goes deeper, deeper, deeper than happiness or saying a brief thank you. Because the basis for joy is so much more than material possessions. It’s about Christ.
Trust me, it’s easy to let Jesus become cliché as well. But can we hang on a moment? Forget about the ritual Jesus, the churchy Jesus, the Jesus that Mom and Dad and Mrs. Pearson talk about in such high and holy terms.
Think about the Jesus that loves you, so incredibly much, that even though He saw those things you’ve done and will do, He still chose to die for you.
Think about the Jesus that saw the shame and pain of His crucifixion coming before Him, and yet, He still chose to give up His life so that you could live.
Think about the Jesus that sees your sin, and knows your heart, and truly, He still chose to impart to you his holiness, blamelessness, this new nature that names you clean.
When we try and compare little frivolous things to the magnificence of Christ, of course we’ll come up dissatisfied. We shouldn’t settle for the miniscule happiness found in the next cool thing, we should pursue that honest joy.
Happiness is cool. Thankfulness for material possessions is cool. Having food to eat, a place to sleep, and people to share it all with is cool. But ultimately, when it comes to the longing of our souls, nothing but Christ and the joy that comes from knowing Him can truly satisfy us.
As I said at the beginning of this post, Thanksgiving is coming in two days. And we have a choice.
The choice? To choose joy, or to not choose it. To let it be the source of our gratitude, or to dismiss it.
If you want to be thankful for more than the Pilgrims and turkey and sales and pies and cable TV and having friends that like you, then please, look to Jesus.
Let your gratitude flow out of your joy for things greater than we can see right here.
Find thankfulness because you’ve found this wonderful, beautiful, authentic joy.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.