Thanksgiving – More Than Just a Holiday

As I mentioned in the message this past Sunday, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I realize that is not the case for everyone, however. For some, Thanksgiving can be a time of stress and anxiety. It can be a week of seemingly constant meal prep, of fighting traffic, and of navigating through the aisles at the grocery store. In our attempts to make everything just right for Thanksgiving, we may find ourselves feeling anxious. In those moments, we may find it challenging to have a spirit of thankfulness. If you have ever felt this way (or if you’re experiencing such feelings this week), I want to share some wisdom from God’s Word.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

The solution for anxiety today is to pray, and to do so “with thanksgiving.” It is tough to do so when you’re stressed, but it’s proven to work every time. What happens when we pray in the midst of our anxiety? God grants peace to us in the moment. That doesn’t mean that our problems are instantly solved, but it does give us pause to reflect on what God has done for us. Prayer is a gift He gives to us, not just so we can ask for things, but so we can slow down and spend time with Him. When we do that, we can experience His peace. 

This past Saturday, Cindy and I went to see “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” This is the story of Fred Rogers, “Mr. Rogers” as he was known by most people. It is an uplifting film that I highly recommend. One of the most powerful scenes in the movie is where Mr. Rogers is at a restaurant with a troubled man who has some family issues. Before they begin to eat, Mr. Rogers suggests that they both take one minute and express thanks for all the people who brought them to that moment in their lives. After a minute, Fred Rogers says, “Thank you, God.” A sense of peace came over the troubled man after that prayer. The scene was a wonderful picture of what we can experience when we talk to God during times of stress and anxiety. 

If you think about it, Thanksgiving is really more than a holiday. It is a lifestyle. It is something to be practiced and expressed continuously. I believe if we can do that, we can overcome the burden that anxiety brings in life. We can appreciate Thanksgiving Day, and we can be grateful each and every day. We can know God’s peace, and it will “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” That is worth pursuing this week. Won’t you join me?

With thanksgiving for you,