Thursday, November 21, 2013

Whoa! Where did it go?

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

It is well over thirty years ago now…My cousin Mark Northrup was a cashier at a local grocery store in Abilene, TX.  One afternoon, a customer came to his register asking for a return on an unopened can of PET Evaporated Milk.  Before issuing the customer a refund for the product, Mark asked the individual the reason for the return.  The customer replied: “Well, it seems to be…evaporated.”  Thinking his customer to be clever, Mark took up the can and looked at the label.  It said right there: ‘Pet Evaporated Milk.’  However, upon holding the can in his hand for a moment, Mark realized the customer was not kidding.  The can, still sealed from the factory…was empty.  Obviously, it had somehow missed being filled before having had the seal applied to the top at the factory.  Still, it was a study in unmet expectation simply because it was not as it was supposed to be…even if appropriately labeled.  “Evaporated Milk.”

I had a similar reaction the morning of November 1st this year.  I had gotten out of bed following the ‘Trunk or Treat’ on the evening before and turned on the television while fixing my breakfast.  The morning news cast went to a commercial break and it seemed every commercial was wishing me a “Happy Holiday Season” with Christmas lights, decorated trees, and people decked out for Christmas!  The effect on me was instant.  It was like Thanksgiving had somehow EVAPORATED!  As far as the world was concerned, were we just going to leap right over it, and get the shopping season started…even before Black Friday?  Was Thanksgiving really gone?  Well, obviously the answer is “No.”  Thanksgiving hasn’t left the calendar.  It’s still going to be November 28th.  Millions of turkeys will be prepared and plenty of dressing will be there for all.

I think it important though, for us to be aware of the increasingly secularized society that we live in.  This world does not share our heart of Thanksgiving.  It does not resonate with the historic plight of the Pilgrim in search of religious freedom.  It may well not care that the survivors of that first hard winter in the northeast had shared a great feast with Native Americans in Thanksgiving to the God who had preserved them into a new life in this strange new land. 

But, you and I do.

So, I suggest that the real question for us is not whether Thanksgiving has evaporated in the hearts of the world.  Rather, does it remain in the hearts of the believers?  The holiday will most likely endure. The turkey farmers will see to that… But the spirit and message that is its origin live in the hearts and lives of those who remember WHY it is observed.  I petition you therefore to make every effort to not only celebrate the reunion of family, fine cooking, and abundant feasts, but to be thankful.  Make certain that the spirit of Thanksgiving is alive and well in you.  Tell those you encounter why you are thankful for THEM.  Tell them why you are thankful for the presence of a wonderful God in your life.  Tell them from what cold Winter God has brought you, and how you are now living in an energizing spiritual Springtime.  Do not merely observe Thanksgiving.  LIVE and BE Thanksgiving. 

Scripture to claim:
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.”
(NLT version)

Almighty God, Have I forgotten to give thanks?  You have been so generous.  You have given where I have not deserved, nor earned.  You have paid the way where I was helpless to do so.  Your provisions are abundant and satisfy.  How grateful I am.  Thank you so very much for all things!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Submitted By Kerry Patton

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