“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth…Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise…”(Psalm 100)
Singing the prayer above, people would come to worship in the Temple long ago. “Remember the steadfast love of the Lord” and give thanks! Thanksgiving was more than something they were to do in the Temple; it was the way they were to live in the world when they left at the end of the service.
As Christians today, that message doesn’t change. We are to be people who live each day open and aware of the many ways God’s love, grace, and peace surround us each moment. We are to be people who respond to that presence by sharing the gifts given each moment with others. As we do, we make a “joyful noise” with our lives and people can see the very presence of God in us.
I am reminded that “joy” means much more than merely “feeling happy.” In faith language, it is that deep sense of peace that comes from trusting in God’s provision and sharing what God has given to us freely with the world in the name of Jesus. For many this is just another “holiday” when we get to eat, watch football, and gather with relatives. For our culture it is a “day” when we remember to “give to the less fortunate” because it’s a nice thing to do and it makes us feel good. But for us who strive to walk daily with Jesus, thanksgiving is much more than that!
It’s not a “day” it’s “the Way.” It’s “the Way” of following Jesus, who we believe was the very presence of God living with us. Jesus’ Way was to serve others and Jesus calls us to follow. So thanksgiving is not something I do because it makes me feel good; it’s a way of stepping into God’s world to reflect the love of a Savior. It’s “the Way” to find the greater purpose for which God has created us, redeemed us, and continually empowers us. It IS “the Way” to an abundant life of grace, peace, and joy.
May thanksgiving be more than just a “holiday” this year; may it become our way of life!