Thanksgiving is here and it’s hard not to think of the Dr. Seuss’ classic, The Grinch that Stole Christmas. In that famous book, TV special and feature film, the small-hearted Grinch steals what he thinks is the meaning of Christmas. He nabs the decorations, the presents, and the food in his attempt to “stop Christmas from coming.”
When the Whos gather anyway to celebrate Christmas, which “came just the same”, the Grinch has a change of heart. He realizes there is more to Christmas than the trappings of the holiday.
This Thanksgiving, we have a new, much more menacing Grinch threatening our holiday – COVID 19. For many, Thanksgiving is about gathering with family and friends to eat a big meal. Yet the pandemic is threatening to steal that tradition away just like the Grinch stole the Who Hash. But is Thanksgiving really all about eating?
The website AllAboutHistory gives a good description of the meaning of Thanksgiving.
“In the Bible, the meaning of thanksgiving reflected adoration, sacrifice, praise, or an offering. Thanksgiving was a grateful language to God as an act of worship. “These things I remember as I pour out my soul; how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng” (Psalm 42:4).
The true meaning of Thanksgiving focuses upon relationship. Thanksgiving is a relationship between God and man. Upon their arrival at New Plymouth, the Pilgrims composed The Mayflower Compact, which honored God. Thanksgiving begins with acknowledging God as faithful, earnestly giving Him thanks, in advance, for His abundant blessings. “. . . In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
This Thanksgiving, if COVID forces your family to gather round the table via a ZOOM call, don’t let the stolen trappings of tradition spoil the true purpose of the holiday. Give thanks for all you have been given. If you do you will realize that, like the Grinch, maybe Thanksgiving…perhaps…means a little bit more.