Preparing for Thanksgiving (In A Culture of “More! More! More!”)
“One day, a few days after the liberation, I walked through the country past flowering meadows, for miles and miles, toward the market town near the camp. Larks rose to the sky and I could hear their joyous song.
There was no one to be seen for miles around; there was nothing but the wide earth and sky and the larks’ jubilation and the freedom of space. I stopped, looked around, and up to the sky—and then I went down on my knees.
At that moment there was very little I knew of myself or of the world—I had but one sentence in mind—always the same: “I called to the Lord from my narrow prison and He answered me in the freedom of space.
How long I knelt there and repeated this sentence memory can no longer recall. But I know that on that day, in that hour, my life started. Step for step I progressed, until I again became a human being.”
-Viktor Frankl, Holocaust Survivor, shortly after being freed from a concentration camp at the end of World War Two.
Do you think Viktor Frankl took his life for granted? Of course not.
What about the gifts of faith, family, friendship, food? No way.
I want to see like Jesus sees: Never taking anything for granted.
But there are obstructions in my sight line.
There are flashing neon messages in our culture shouting, “More! More! More!”
- You need more.
- You deserve more.
- More money.
- More attention.
- More love.
- More respect.
But when “more” is the message, we start to think, “Huh, I guess I don’t have enough.” Someone is fishing, and we just bit a shiny lure disguising a hook.
The old Bible verse (Psalm 23:1) isn’t so old: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (That means, God is my Caretaker, so I trust that he provides for my needs.) I want to see with that kind of vision:
First, to see through the deception that makes greed a virtue.
Second, to see afresh the gifts already in my life:
• I see the sun come up—hope.
• I eat toast with homemade jam—nourishment.
• My son needs a bandage—purpose.
• I struggle with a hard decision—growth.
• A friend makes me laugh—joy.
• I have the privilege of worshipping on Sunday—freedom.
• The wind wisps through my hair—angels’ wings.
• I lay down my head—rest.
• I clasp my hands in prayer as if around Jesus’ hands—eternity.
It’s autumn—so why does it feel like Christmas?
As Frankl said, “One day, a few days after the liberation, I walked through the country past flowering meadows, for miles and miles, toward the market town near the camp. Larks rose to the sky and I could hear their joyous song.”
Prepare for Thanksgiving in the culture of “More!”
Look around. And notice all the opened gifts.
- This blog is a slight expansion of one of my devotionals published in the summer 2014 edition of Theses Days magazine.