Summary: 2005 Thanksgiving Sunday Remarks

What do you think of when you think ‘Thanksgiving?’ (Overhead 1)

I think of pain…from eating too much!

I think of Detroit Lions football!!!

I think of family gatherings with aunts and uncles and cousins… that I miss.

I think of freedom to believe and worship God.

I think of people that I dearly love and respect that I don’t get to see often.

I think of God’s grace and mercy to me.

What does Thanksgiving mean to you? In a moment, we are going to hear from four members of our church what they are thankful for. But, there a few others that we need to hear from this morning as well:

The first group of people we need to hear from are the housewives, many of whom will be working hard this week (if not already) to prepare the Thanksgiving Meal. Here are what housewives are thankful for:

"For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after-dinner snacks.

For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.

For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents.

For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.

For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done."

Another person expressed their thankfulness as follows:

I am Thankful that we only elect presidents

once every four years.

I am Thankful that teenagers will grow up and

that one day they will have children that will become teenagers of their own.

I am Thankful that I am not a turkey this week.

I am Thankful that the space available for messages on T-shirts and bumpers is limited.

I am Thankful that hugs and kisses do not add weight or cause cancer.

I am Thankful that TVs, Radios, & CD players

can be turned off.

I am Thankful that God’s love never fails.

Finally, in regards to the issue of calories, here’s Jeanne McManus’ of the Washington Post take on the tradition of eating on Thanksgiving Day.

"I believe in tradition. I believe in Thanksgiving,” she says.” I believe in Thanksgiving tradition. I believe that there should be butter, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and pie on the fourth Thursday of every November in the United States of America. I believe that Thanksgiving is a day on which people should gather to share food, friendship and love.”

”I do not believe it is a day,” she concludes, “on which calories should be counted or guilt should be expressed at having eaten too much food, too many complex carbohydrates or too much saturated fat."

What are you thankful for? Well we are going to hear from four persons what they are thankful for this morning. Please give them your attention.

(Lauren Howdyshell, Steve Heltzel, Dana Wallace, and Dick Feller.)

What did you hear from these four people? I heard (share comments):

In our main text for this morning, the Psalmist celebrates a whole list of things that he, and God’s people as well, are thankful for. Do you remember what they thanked and praised God for? (Overhead 2)

They gave thanks for God’s goodness

They gave thanks for God being God

They gave thanks for God’s creativeness

They gave thanks for God’s deliverance

They gave thanks for God’s care

The Psalmist and the people could, first of all, give thanks to God because God is good. Throughout the Psalms, God is praised because of His goodness. And because He is good, people trust him.

This trust is then a foundation that makes it possible for the Psalmist to express praise to God for being God – the only God. Throughout the Old Testament and, in the statements of Jesus in the New Testament such as, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me,’ there are reminders there is no other God but our God.

Today such claims are viewed as narrow and exclusive. However, they are not meant to be. These statements are meant to be defining and helpful. They are designed to give clarity and reduce confusion.

When we encounter truth, – about life – and ourselves such encounters may sting and hurt from time to time but that is because truth has a way of clarifying reality when it needs to. In addition, the people who are worshipping the Lord in this Psalm need the truth of who God is: good, redemptive, just to be sure, but loving and seeking to bring his grace and mercy to bear on the human condition. This is especially true in the miracle of a changed life made possible not by human effort and technology but by the truth and power of God to make that change a reality.

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