Is it possible to know a word but not know what it really means? Sure it is. In school I learned that “supercalisragilisticexpialidocious” was actually a word, but until I started writing this article all it meant to me was “write-off.” But how about when it comes to words that are little more common? How about a word that we have heard or used so much this week? Take the word “thanksgiving” for instance. Is it possible that we can use a word that so many ears recognize without truly understanding the meaning it is meant to have? Has thanksgiving become a misunderstood word taken for granted? Despite the fact that thanksgiving is a word that we say and hear so much this time of the year the true essence of the word describes what our words sound like to God.
The word thanksgiving means, “gratitude, grateful language to God as an act of worship; thankfulness.” Thanksgiving Day is not meant to be a day that bottles up our recognition of God into one meal. It is meant to make us slow down and show some emotion. Thanksgiving is something that God enjoys, desires and deserves. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” It has to do with how we feel about our blessings. We cannot trust our emotions to lead us to salvation (Proverbs 3:5; Jeremiah 10:23; 17:9 & 1 John 5:13) but that does not change the fact that salvation and all the other recognized blessings of life will lead a person to certain emotions (Acts 8:26-39; Philippians 4:4 & 1 Timothy 6:7-9). The point is that our emotions are not determined by the word thanksgiving, the word thanksgiving is determined by our emotions. Thanksgiving Day was meant to be more than a national holiday; it was meant to be a personal one. The idea is for us to give thanks to God as a people, not for the turkey, but for all the blessings in life. You see, there are a lot of people with a lot plans for this Thanksgiving Day. There will be a lot of turkeys served up, a lot of time spent with family or friends and a lot of TV watched all over America. We can say this without a doubt. But how many people are going to show any thankfulness to God is a question that I cannot answer. We can only answer that for ourselves.
The apostle Paul reminded the Christians in Colossi about the importance of thankfulness with one of the shortest commands in the New Testament. He said, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15) “Be ye thankful” is that “little” command of God that is a big deal because it has such a large effect on who we are as individuals. Jude said, “Keep yourselves in the love of God. Looking for the mercy of Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude vs.21) The love of God is a love that provides and promises, and in the end it produces a thankful heart not only on Thanksgiving Day but each day of our lives that we look for it.
And by the way, “supercalisragilisticexpialidocious” means, “fantastic; very wonderful.” And with that being said, I hope that is the type of Thanksgiving Day that you will have.