In the UK there is no holiday called Thanksgiving. And so most Brits are confused as to what happens on that day. “Do you give presents?” “Do you decorate the house?” “Do you have turkey?”
Instead, the carving and eating of the roast turkey is a tradition celebrated during Christmas. Yes, traditional Christmas dinner involves sprouts, cranberry sauce, roasted potatoes and vegetables, and of course a Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. It’s the same kind of meal that tiny Tim pined for in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (that’s Charles Dickens, not Walt Disney).
But something else that lies in common between American Thanksgiving and British Christmas is the spirit of thankfulness. There’s a great appreciation in the UK for family, friendships, and the blessings of life.
In both instances there is a great power to thankfulness. For a brief moment each year a society finds itself transformed from one of greed to one of gratefulness. It turns a normally jealous mentality to one of satisfaction. It takes a bitter heart and makes it grateful.
There is so much in our lives to be thankful for. Shelter. Food. Warmth. The joys of family. We have been given a wealth of opportunities. And as much as we could complain about the things in life which bother or disappoint us, how much more is there to grateful for? And yet, we are not a people who often practice thankfulness. We are too focused on what we do not have.
So as this Christmas comes and goes and we look towards a new year, may our hearts be filled with thankfulness–because we have been given so much. And most of all because we are reminded of Hebrews 12:28-29: knowing full well the perfection, grace, and mercy of God gives us a hope that we can be eternally thankful for.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”