There were many lovely images of dinner tables I could have chosen for my Thanksgiving blog. However, I couldn't resist this one! Chased by a turkey?! It made me laugh.
It spoke to me because sometimes it seems like the food kind of takes over Thanksgiving day. I'm not denying the feast is delicious. But, you don't want the turkey to chase you away from the real reason for the celebration.
Nicely, Christian Science branch churches and societies have a church service on Thanksgiving morning. I love its simple format: hymns, prayer, a lesson-sermon on the topic read from our Pastor, the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy. It also includes the Thanksgiving proclamation from either the President of the United States, or the Governor of your state. Those speech writers really know how to write a moving proclamation!
But, the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie of this service, so to speak, is a time set aside for the congregation to stand and give gratitude for all of their blessings. If you haven't attended one of these Thanksgiving services, I highly recommend it! You are so welcome there, and there's something about giving thanks and hearing others do the same that makes a person feel very close to God.
Wait a minute! You might be asking: is Thanksgiving a religious holiday? Like Christmas or Easter?! Well, yes! God is very much a part of Thanksgiving. After all, God is the source of all good. In fact, He is good itself. Everything good and lasting has its source in Him.
Don't get me wrong. God doesn't load us up with material objects. God is Spirit, Mind. What He gives has to be like Him. It has to be spiritual ideas. Everything around you that is truly good, gives you a glimpse of the everlasting nature of the spiritual goodness it represents. For example, that great job you're happy to have? It shows the fact that you have a holy purpose to express God in tangible spiritual qualities such as: punctuality, organization, and intelligence.
Grateful for family and friends? This points to something I've thought a lot about. God, is the great Networker. He knows All of His beloved creation. If you find yourself companioning with others who make your life more fun and content, that's because God has gathered His ideas in just the way that blesses everyone the most.
Do you have what you need each day? That's because, as Mrs. Eddy says, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (Science and Health, p. 494).
Is this true for everyone? Yes. Our one universal God is everywhere present, bestowing good impartially, and supplying His creation with infinite blessings. That's the spiritual fact of things. Sometimes it doesn't seem that good is everywhere and for everyone...but it is.
Right where lack seems more apparent than abundance, we can offer up a prayer of affirmation that God is indeed, right there, blessing, protecting, and caring for His creation. Knowing this can make a big difference in the world today. Acknowledging God's active presence brings His present attributes into view. You could say, it's like when the wind chases away the clouds, and there's the sun, shining just like it was all along. The clouds of despair, lack, and gloom (in whatever form they appear) can't keep God's children from being blessed, any more than the clouds can keep the sun from shining, It's inevitable that goodness and abundance are seen everywhere for everyone. We can give gratitude for this fact, even if we aren't seeing it at the moment.
One of the most moving examples of giving gratitude in the face of dire circumstances is found in the life of Christ Jesus. This account is found in the Bible in the book of John, chapter 11. Jesus was called to the house of his friends, Mary and Martha. Their brother Lazarus was sick and they wanted Jesus to come heal him. However, when Jesus got to there, they told him Lazarus was already gone. But, this didn't stop Jesus. He knew sickness wasn't ever a part of his friend, Lazarus, because it didn't have its source in God, Life. He went to the tomb and paused to pray this prayer: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always" (John, chapter 11:41,42). He gave gratitude, right there, in the face of all of the grief, sadness, gloom, and death. And the result was that Lazarus walked right out of the tomb and continued to fulfill his purpose in that household.
The powerful effect of gratitude in the story of Lazarus is worth pondering. It gives us all a lot of food for thought.
So, this Thanksgiving day, don't let the turkey, stuffing, and pie chase you away from pondering the power of gratitude. It's an active and healing element in the lives of each one of us.
Spanish-speakers have it right. The Spanish phrase for Thanksgiving is, Acción de Gracias. Yes, just like it looks: The action of thanks. Let gratitude move you Thanksgiving day, and every day! You'll see more of the good that's present in your life, and in the lives of those around the world.
If you'd like to attend a Thanksgiving day service in a Christian Science branch of Society, you can find a list of churches by clicking here. They'd love to share thanks with you!
I hope these insights will inspire readers to think more spiritually about themselves and the world around them!