Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Guest Post from Carl Jones!

Hey guys,

So, those of you who are regular readers know that a little while ago I wrote a guest post for my friend Carl's blog! Tonight (or today, depending on what time zone you're in, word to my international followers) we have the pleasure of receiving a guest post in return! Carl is American, which is pretty cool, and it's my understanding that they have some kind of strange ritual this time of year that we Canadians celebrate in October. Thanksgiving! My favorite mostly-secular holiday ever. Anyways, this isn't my post, it's Carl's! So I'll stop talking now, and let's just jump right to it! :)

When Tom asked me to write a guest post for him about "American Thanksgiving," I admit the sound of those words hit me a bit funny.  I know that Canadian Thanksgiving is earlier- in fact I just saw an episode of How I Met Your Mother in which the very Canadian character of Robin comments that Thanksgiving in November just seems odd.  But truth be told I never really think of Thanksgiving as "our" holiday.  I know the history of it all- the Pilgrims and the Native Americans sitting down over a feast to celebrate surviving another year.  I, like so many others, will enjoy sitting down today with family and friends for a feast- and I will eat way too much.  There will be parades and football games to watch, and there will be the realization that the Christmas season is now officially here.   I realize that many USAmericans (technically, Canadians are Americans too.  So are Central & South Americans. I'm just saying...) manage to turn most every holiday into an excuse for patriotism, but I do not think of Thanksgiving as a day that belongs to God and country.  It simply belongs to God.  It is a day to give thanks for the many blessings in each of our lives, even in times when we do not feel as blessed as we might hope.  

I have always used a very simple exercise to help keep me focused on the meaning of this day, and I thought I would share it with you all today.  We used to sing a song at camp and youth group that went like this:
"Thank you, my LORD for the day, 
Thank you my LORD for they day.
"Cause you've given me your Son 
and you know I've just begun,
Thank you my LORD for the day."
We would sing those words over and over again, but each time through we would ask for suggestions on words to substitute for the words, "the day."  For instance, we might substitute "friends" or "turkey" or "family."  The list of things we were thankful for was usually endless. Each year on Thanksgiving I use this song as my morning devotion, taking time to list many of the things I am thankful for.  Taking time to thank God for our blessings is at the very heart of this day, whether you live here in Tampa, Florida or you live in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  Today, even more than usual, we should remember the words of the psalmist in Psalm 118 when he tells us that "this is the day that LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!" Live today in God's glory, filled with the love and grace of Jesus Christ, and no matter where you are or what you are doing it will be Thanksgiving Day!  Be blessed!

Because of Jesus

Carl Jones

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