Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18
If holidays can be said to be a color, for me, Thanksgiving is a “brown holiday” – something other than the frenzied red of the secular Christmas, the holy white of Easter, the patriotic red, white and blue of July 4th or the garish black and orange of Halloween. Brown is a peaceful, earthy tone, suggestive of fallen leaves, dried corn stalks and landscapes at the rest after the harvest.
A peaceful color is appropriate for the day. Other than a trip to the grocery store, there is, thank God, no shopping season in preparation for Thanksgiving. There are no office parties, no tinsel and no obligatory gift exchanges. More than any other special day, Thanksgiving remains private and personal. And, as someone has said, no one is “complaining that they have somehow taken the thanks out of Thanksgiving.”
No one has needed to make that complaint, for even the most hardened of us recognize that undeserved blessings come our way. Some who are less conversant with the vocabulary of the church might substitute “good luck” or “opportunities” for “blessings,” but the fact remains that the majority of us are aware that life graces us with gifts we’ve done nothing to earn. Most of us absorbed the meaning of Thanksgiving day as first-graders when we portrayed different characters in construction paper hats or bonnets or cardboard feathers we’d colored with crayons. We learned that the day was for offering thanks.
Christians have an advantage at Thanksgiving because we know who to thank. Our faith provides a perspective that enables us to see that windfalls and bounty are not something owed to us, but gifts from a loving and gracious God. Christians understand that even in hard times when obvious blessings seem scarce, we are still abundantly graced with life itself – a wonderful gift – and with the abiding presence of God.
As you offer thanks to God on this Thanksgiving season and Thanksgiving Day, may the brown peace of gratitude flood your soul.