Norman Rockwell painted the above painting during World War II,
when the world was in pain. We are in pain today as well, and how we must continue to help one another remember who God is, to let our requests be made known to Him, and to do it with thanksgiving. We will continue to practice prayer this week in our secret place, but to give thanks here on the blog, and hopefully, at our Thanksgiving tables.
I KNOW IN YOUR HEART OF HEARTS,
YOU WANT “A REAL THANKSGIVING.”
ONE WHERE YOUR LOVED ONES GATHER AND THERE IS A
TIME OF MEANINGFUL SHARING.
It was 1998, and I was blessed that my parents were coming all the way from California. It is the only time I remember them coming to my home for Thanksgiving, and oh how I prayed. Neither were believers yet and I hoped God would come in some way that they would recognize as well. I prepared questions that my children were accustomed to, but I didn’t know how my parents would respond. Mother did get tired after about a half hour of sharing and took a nap. But Dad stayed and stayed and we kept sharing until the sun was sinking in the Nebraska sky, flooding the sky with the same warmth that was in our hearts.
My dad stood, with tears in his eyes, and said,
“THAT WAS A REAL THANKSGIVING!” I weep today to remember that benediction, that great answer from God who met the desire of my heart.
Within seven years my dad, then my husband, and finally my mother were safe in the arms of Jesus. Today I cherish the memory of that Thanksgiving day.
How I pray something like that might happen for you this Thanksgiving.
I know many of you are not going to be the hostess, but it is possible you could suggest one of these plans. I have three, and I’ll start with the the first two, which are short, easy, and fun, and should work with a group that has secular people in it as well. Then I’ll give you the longer plan, which was similar to what we did that day.
But even if you can’t do any of these on Thanksgiving, we will be sharing thanks together here this week. WE WILL HAVE A REAL THANKSGIVING! Keep going to your closet for confession, petition, and praise. But share your thanks here on the blog by answering the questions and sharing any other thanks.
Plan 1: Have everyone share something they are thankful for this year that they couldn’t have been thankful for last year.
Plan 2: (I stole this from a Hallmark Christmas movie called “A Very Merry Mix-up” They are always about love and not Jesus, but I still liked this one.) If your group is large you’ll have to divide. Give everyone index cards on which they write each person’s name along with one thing they are thankful for about him or her. Don’t sign the card you write on. Then each person reads their cards aloud and tries to guess who wrote each.
Plan 3. Click here: THANKSGIVING QUESTIONS
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
2. Might you try any of these plans? (you can even e-mail the plan ahead so they can be thinking!)
AND THOUGH THE WRONG SEEMS OFT SO STRONG…
3. It certainly feels like God is allowing our world to be shaken, but the author of Hebrews tells us to give thanks for what cannot be shaken. (See Hebrews 12:26-29) What cannot be shaken for which you can give thanks?
The above is sung by Amy Shreve, whom you may know from either Idol Lies videos or The God of All Comfort CD. Amy and her husband have ministered with Voice of the Martyrs and are so dear to me — Amy is fighting an aggressive cancer and I’d be thankful for your prayers for her.
4. For what things are we exhorted to be thankful in Philippians 2:1? List them and then give an illustration from your life for at least two of them.
5. What commands therefore follow in Philippians 2:2-5? How could you apply this this Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving Day and Friday
6. What are some ways God has blessed you this last year?
7. How has He sustained you in suffering?
8. Have you had any especially wonderful answers to prayer?
9. What’s your take-a-way from these last two weeks and why?
Advent Begins Next Sunday!