Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. Everything about the world seems just right. Red and golden leaves saunter to the ground, the air is crisp, and the atmosphere stirs with holiday excitement. I relish crackling fires with my favorite pipe and a good book, I delight in home cooked food shared around a bountiful table with people I love, and I’m grateful for ever flowing wine when the conversation turns political. It’s boot weather, after all, and cardigans are in vogue.
I suppose when I wrote everything about the world seems just right, I exaggerated. I do get carried away by Thanksgiving. Sometimes the Arminian side of the family comes to dinner, sometimes that one Baptist aunt gives you dirty looks for that glass of wine in your hand, and sometimes the dog sneaks into the kitchen and helps himself to the rolls (true story). And when the Arminians start Arminianing, the Baptists start raising eyebrows, and the dog eats your rolls, it all floods back to you: everything about the world isn’t right. In fact, it’s a lot worse than debates about free will, and dogs eating calories you don’t need. Those little moments are cracks in the perfect Thanksgiving dome we construct, reminders that, try as we may, we can’t make Thanksgiving day perfect. There’s too much wrong. In the periphery of our minds, we’re reminded sin exists, even in this make believe reality called “the perfect Thanksgiving.”
And so, when the cracks form and the awareness of everything wrong floods back into mind (which will probably happen when Uncle Frank inevitably says, “So, how about that election, huh?”), remember this crucial Thanksgiving fact: The Gospel is good news. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” is something to be grateful for (Romans 8:1, emphasis added)! That Paul wrote Christ is reconciling “to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” is good news (Colossians 1:20)!
More than beautiful leaves, crisp air, and holiday excitement, more than the fire, pipe, and good books, and even more than delicious food and loved ones, I give thanks for the Gospel. If the dog eats your rolls, and everything goes sideways, remember the gift of God’s grace, it’s more than a good reason to give thanks.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).