This is the week we celebrate Thanksgiving, but, for Christians, thanksgiving is to be our lifestyle.
Someday in heaven I will look up a Christian woman by the name of Hannah Whitall Smith. Every now and then I read about women in ministry and realize women like me owe them a great deal of gratitude.
Who was Hannah Whitall Smith?
Hannah was born in 1832 and raised in Pennsylvania as a Quaker. Later in life, she married a Quaker man, but they both left that faith after what they described as a conversion experience. They became involved in the revival movement of the Methodist church, traveling in America and Europe. Both Hannah and her husband spoke evangelistic messages about living higher, holy lives for the sake of Christ.
Hannah Smith’s most famous book, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, was first published in 1875. Since that time there have been more than ten million copies sold. The title is a misnomer in our culture today. This book is not “seven easy steps” or a “how-to” list of activities to accomplish the goal of happiness. Hannah had a difficult life, and the book is about the discipline of living as a Christian through all times of life. That spiritual discipline is the only lasting road to happiness for a child of God.
Hannah’s message for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is so much more than just the holiday we celebrate, and I thought Hannah Whitall Smith said that well. She wrote, “This way of seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and gives a rest of heart, and, more than that, a gayety of spirit, that is unspeakable.”
The most important part of celebrating Thanksgiving this week is learning to see God in all aspects of the day.
- What opportunities will we have to share our faith?
- There is joy in caring for others, feeding others, and helping them to feel loved.
- Jesus can be a tangible presence in our lives, our homes, and our words.
- Thanksgiving is a chance to rest from the regular and remember we are blessed.
The news and the Good News
There will be all the normal news reports of harried travel, high prices, and social dynamics. Recipes can be googled or family cookbooks can be dusted off and reread. It is a fun holiday to enjoy and probably a full day of “comfort foods,” family, and football. We have a lot to look forward to and be thankful for.
This is a season for good news, glad tidings, and joy. But, as Smith said, it should be about more than that. When we give thanks, we find rest for our hearts and a “gayety of spirit” that is “unspeakable.”
Avoid the heaviness in the news if you can and enjoy the faces of people you love, the faces of people you can choose to love, and be sure to include the face of the Lord who is love.
We need and deserve a time of Thanksgiving
I hope all of us will have a holiday filled with the Presence of Christ. I hope all of us have the opportunity to recognize the fact that God is present in everything, if we just take the time to look for him. And I hope when the turkey is deboned, the pie is eaten, and the games are all won or lost, we will go to sleep filled with gratitude for God’s blessings.
The psalmist wrote, “Oh give thanks to the Lᴏʀᴅ, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1).
It’s that time of year, once again, to seek joy in Jesus. The first step to joy is gratitude. God is good, and his love for us will endure for all eternity. This is a good time to “taste and see” that the Lord is good. What a privilege to help someone else do the same.
I wish you and yours a blessed day of Thanksgiving.
God is love and God is good. May he be a tangible Presence in your celebration.
We need and deserve a day to realize just how blessed we are by our great and holy God.
Help us remember, Lord, that thanksgiving is for every day.
We thank you, Father, for making us part of your family.