Summary: Sermon for Thanksgiving Eve on why we need help developing an attitude of gratitude

Thanksgiving Eve 7 p.m. 2006

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.

Well, Thanksgiving Day is upon us! And THANK GOD the BUTTERBALL HOT LINE is still alive and well after 26 years of operation! Yes, folks, it is the fiftieth anniversary of the BUTTERBALL brand and 26 years of the most famous turkey cooking hot line of them all. Almost 3 million calls for HELP spanning 26 years. 1-800-288-8372. In case you want to write the number down.

FIFTY TWO callers TRAINED at BUTTERBALL UNIVERSITY—no kidding—to talk you through what THEY refer to as “TURKEY TRAUMA.”

TWENTY SIX YEARS of calls to the Butter Ball hotline, and we still need a lot of help. How do I know that? The kinds of calls that come in…

I have here a couple of articles on the subject. One appeared in USA TODAY “THE BIRD IS THE WORD” –most memorable calls to the Butterball hotline. Listen to some of these and see if you agree that we need help.

--ONE WOMAN, it says, called from COLORADO. Her problem? She had stored her turkey in a snow bank in her back yard. It had snowed more. And now she couldn’t find it! She had no idea where her turkey was and she wanted them to help her find it!

--Another woman called to ask if it was OK…to stuff her turkey.. with POPCORN! Can you imagine?

--Some guy called and he wanted to know why the turkey cooking in his kitchen oven was making so much SMOKE. The instruction said to REMOVE THE WRAPPER and “PUT IT ON THE RACK.” He thought that meant the OVEN RACK. So that’s what he did, plopped it on the oven rack without a pan under it. And all those drippings were going straight to the bottom of the oven.

--A VA WOMAN called and asked: “How do you thaw a fresh turkey?” The Hotline staffer had to explain to her that a fresh turkey has not been frozen, so it was unnecessary to THAW it!

…OH I can keep going! More?

--A restaurant owner in CA wanted to know how to roast a turkey for a VEGETARIAN menu!

--Another woman from the West Coast used BLEACH to scrub her turkey, ‘cause it said to first CLEAN the bird! She got really upset when she was told to THROW THE BIRD OUT and start over!

--20 of the calls were from men, by the way. A guy called, I’m not sure from where—wanting to know if the yellow netting and wrapper around the turkey should be removed before roasting!

PERHAPS these kinds of calls explain why it was a natural thing for DAVID LETTERMAN to come up with “TOP TEN SIGNS THAT THE PERSON ANSWERING THE BUTTERBALL TURKEY HOTLINE HAS GONE NUTS”

(read some of the list)

……..Apparently we need a lot of help with our Thanksgiving Turkeys. But what we REALLY need help with, is this thing called “THANKSGIVING.” Because even more than proficiency at turkey roasting—it doesn’t come naturally -- and often leaves a lot of room for improvement.

It one thing is evident in the Bible, it is that THANKSGIVING does not come naturally. In fact, it kind of goes against fallen human nature.

IN THE FIRST READING FOR TONIGHT, Deut. 8, God warns the children of Israel, after they have moved into the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey, replete with material blessing, God looks down the line and warns them NOT to FORGET. When you are enjoying all the good things of life, “Do not forget the Lord your God.” He warns them because he KNOWS the tendency of human beings NOT to be thankful. A couple of generations pass, the people are saying LOOK WHAT MY OWN STRENGTH hath gotten me. We human beings don’t like to give credit to someone else for what we think WE’VE achieved.

2 Then in the GOSPEL we have the story of the TEN LEPERS. LEPROSY the most FEARED disease of ancient times -- a literal DEATH SENTENCE -- no cure. You couldn’t live with healthy people, you had to move out to a shantytown on the outskirts of the city -- never to see your friends and realtives again. Your toes and nose and finger would literally rot and fall off. Jesus HEALS TEN from this DREAD and INCURABLE disease. How many return to give thanks? One. "Where are the other NINE?" asks Jesus. His pain is palpable. “Were not TEN healed?” No answer is given. We can only speculate. The easiest explanation is they forget, maybe they were so ECSTASTIC about having been healed. We’re not told why they didn’t return. But the fact of the matter is, they didn’t do it.

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