THE Reason for Thanksgiving
Turkey, cranberries, dinner rolls, butter, mash potatoes, gravy, green beans, salad. Breathe. Dinner plates, napkins, silverware, glasses, name cards AND centerpiece. THANKSGIVING! I love this holiday, FOOD – family – fun. Ok, I will add … football. (Go Steelers!) A set time to pause, consider and ponder that which we are thankful for.
Thanksgiving. There are seasons it may be difficult to pull forward on the shelf of our life something to be thankful for. We may have lost a job, or a loved one. Or our bank account matches our emotional bucket of strength, ’empty’. Yet and yet there IS something to be thankful for. You have a REASON for thanksgiving. The great Psalm of thanks opens with, “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good.” (Ps. 136) The Hebrew language renders a beautiful word picture, “Give thanks…” offers the idea to confess or acknowledge in reverence and worship with … extended hands.
“Give thanks to the LORD for He is good. His love endures forever” The author found it needful to repeat “His love endures forever” 26 times throughout the rest of the Psalm. This Hebrew word love is ‘hesed’ (hay-said). It is used 248 times in the Old Testament. Let’s take a look at each one (just kidding). We know it biblically as mercy, goodness, loyalty and steadfast love, even … grace. What a pivotal word. Scholars find it extremely difficult to translate into English, because there really is not an equivalent word(s). In 1535 Myles Coverdale published the first complete modern English translation, using many of Tyndale’s work, in it he uses … ‘lovingkindness’ for the first time.
This merciful (undeserved) love is enveloped in personal involvement and commitment to relationship. Basically it IS relationship. God is pleased when it is reciprocated “For I delight in loyalty (hesed) rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Our Lord desires faithful love and covenantal commitment. With this, His lovingkindness is precious (Ps. 36:7) marvelous (Ps. 17:7) undeserving (Ps. 103) abounding (Ps. 86:5) reviving (Ps.119:159) satisfying (Ps. 90:14) and everlasting (Ps. 103:17). God is the God of GREAT attributes and God cannot change – He will ALWAYS be a God of love filled mercy. (Thankful yet?)
David’s well known and beloved Psalm 23 (verse 6) “Surely goodness and MERCY will follow me all the days of my life” (mercy – hesed) This ‘follow’ is not a mere tag along behind, but … PURSUIT. David knows the concept of pursuit. This Psalm is known to be written at the END of David’s life. He, once the shepherd, has now/is being Shepherded. God’s unending – steadfast love full of mercy pursued David, He pursues …. US! He is unrelenting. The divine love of God is steady – sure – persistent and FULL of refusal to let go. Aren’t you GLAD He does not let go! Reason for thanksgiving indeed! “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.”
As we share around the table amongst the laughter and love, the blessings of health and family, may we too take a knee, raise a hand and “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so…” (Ps. 107:2)
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” ~ Heb. 10:24)