[This is actually a re-posting of an earlier reflection that for reasons unknown failed to show up on my Facebook page. While I don’t think the reflection was particularly brilliant, I did want to share it before memories of Thanksgiving got pushed aside by the approaching Christmas holiday.]
Today is “Thanksgiving Eve,” and after wrapping up a few things in the office, I’ll be taking a couple days off to celebrate. There’s no question that I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. God has blessed me with a wonderful family. I have the privilege of serving a fantastic congregation. For a guy who’s slowly closing in on the “Big 5-0″ I’m in reasonably good health. And I won’t even begin to enumerate the spiritual blessings that continue to keep me grounded, challenge me and give me hope.
I must say, however, that this year (as in recent years) I’ve struggled a bit to discern how I could most appropriately celebrate a holiday like Thanksgiving (and – for that matter – the Christmas season beyond). I’m certainly not knocking “feasting and merriment.” After all, Jesus was known to frequent parties, and it seems like several of the proscribed Old Testament festivals had whole-hearted jubilation at their center. But I guess I’ve come to have a certain degree of discomfort with the sense of “excess” that sometimes pervades this season. At first glance, our annual celebration of gratitude seems to have drifted from its moorings to the extent that it is less about thanks and more about too-much-food followed by too-much-football followed by too-much-shopping. As a picture on a friend’s Facebook page described this upcoming holiday weekend: “Black Friday: Because only in America would people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.“
My devotional reading for this week has included daily meditation on Psalm 16. Among the beautiful reflections of this text are the following words: “Lord, you alone are my portion.” What might it look like for me (and for all of us) to live through the coming days as though that sentiment is true for us?
Friends, may your Thanksgiving be filled with true gratitude; and amid the feasting and celebration, may you discover that God alone is your portion – and that He is enough.