A few weeks ago someone quoted a verse from 2 Corinthians that I had never heard. It struck me as a good theme for a Thanksgiving sermon or article so when I got home I began to search for the scripture, first in 2 Corinthians, then 1 Corinthians, then the Epistle. Failing to find it I explore the New Testament and finally the Old. Nothing resembling the quote appeared and I was disappointed that I couldn’t cite it as the Word of God. Still the quote had me thinking and I began to view our national Holiday of Thanksgiving from a different perspective.
Happening so close to the end of the year we tend to look at our day of thanks in the past tense. It becomes a time to reflect on the year behind us and we give thanks for the thing which have made our lives fulfilling and meaningful, or at least for having endured the difficulties of the past years. We are grateful for our harvest (which is important in farming community), for our family, friends and all good fortune which we and our love ones experienced. We also pray in the present tense for all we possess and have on this special day of Thanksgiving. Whether we have gained blessings or simply survived a difficult year it is proper that we acknowledge those things that have sustained our lives.
The quote (or misquote) I heard got me to think about Thanksgiving in the future tense. I strongly believe that while the Bible is largely historical, its focus is on what lies ahead of us rather than what’s behind. The quote, as best as I remember was, “Plant the seed of faith in the field of Thanksgiving”.* We have an expectation that despite weather, birds, poor soil or the skills we lack in gardening, we can create, nourish and harvest life from dirt and a tiny seed. Clearly this is an act of faith.
It’s important that we devote this day to thanking God for what He’s provided in the past year; for the lives of love one who are no longer with us, the support He gave during difficult times and the blessing for the good things we received. And we need to appreciate what we have today, our family, friends, the food we eat, the home that shelters us, and the community that embraces us.
As we celebrate in the midst of plenty we cannot forget those who have lost homes, family, jobs and health. We need to be in prayer for all God’s children who are now suffering and lost or have doubts and fears for the future. It is for their sake that we need to plant the seed of faith in the field of Thanksgiving.
In the darkness we shine the light ahead of us, not behind and as we begin the Season of Advent, we should spend less time reflecting on the past, and more vigor on expectation for the future. Christ is that future, the light which cast away the darkness before us. Perhaps Thanksgiving should be a time of beginning, a time to prepare for the future and not reflect on the past. During Advent we need to prepare for the coming of Christ and regain our hope for the year ahead. We acknowledge that God has been with us in the past, guiding and caring for us as we stumble through this world. So also we should understand that He will continue to guide us in the future. If we do not have this expectation then we do not have hope and we cannot offer hope to those who have none.
Faith is the seed that we plant. Hope is the soil in which that seed is nourished and given renewed life. In the cold of winter when life seems dead and gray, we plant that seed of faith in the soil of Thanksgiving.
May the eternal Hope of God’s love grow in your life and may your hearts be renewed by the birth of our savior Jesus Christ Jesus.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:15
Blessing s of the Season
Pastor Dan & Debbie
*I suspect the quote come from a hymn but cannot find that either. If you know where this quote, or one based on it, might comes from please let me know.