Thanksgiving Devotion Nov 18
Written by: Bill Scheel
Scripture: Exodus 23:16 & Matthew 12:49-50
Thanksgiving Day is just a little over a week away. Plans are being made to shop for and prepare a veritable feast of turkey and dressing (my favorite) and all the wonderful vegetables that go along with it. And the desserts, you can’t forget the cakes and pies that finish it all off. Actually, we are doing exactly what God commanded in Exodus 23:16 “Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.” The idea of setting aside a day of thanksgiving is indeed an old one.
If we all really think about it, one of the best parts of the holiday is the opportunity to be thankful for family (except maybe for crazy Uncle Harry). In our busy lives, it is sometimes hard to take time to be thankful for one of the most important things in our lives – our family.
Jesus put a new spin on what a family really is. Matthew 12:49-50 says, “But Jesus replied, ‘Who is My mother, and who are My brothers? For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.’” I have a much bigger family than I thought!
This new concept of family came home to me in a most vivid way one month ago today. It was my birthday, an important one because I was beginning a new decade of life. The love of my life, my wife Jill, had planned a true festival. I awakened to find a yard display wishing me a happy birthday and the cat was out of the bag as a shipment of lobster and steaks had arrived from Maine. I knew I was going to have a most excellent birthday dinner. My son and his girlfriend were to join us at around 5 p.m. to start dinner preparations.
Then came the big surprise. My wife and son began digging out our folding chairs and pop-up shelter from the garage and erected them on the driveway. I had to ask, “What’s going on?” She said, “We are having a drive-by birthday parade!” I was shocked! The parade began and who should be leading the long line of cars but my Sunday School Class. They had balloons and birthday card posters and waved and honked their horns. All got out of their cars, social distancing, and sang “Happy Birthday.” I can truly say I was overcome with emotion. At that moment, I realized how thankful I was that God had put these people in my life. They were part of my family.
We should all be thankful for everything that God has given us, but most especially the gift of His Son. It is through His sacrifice that we are bound together through indissoluble ties of love for one another. These ties of love make us a family of believers called the Church. Let us all be thankful for this “special” family.
Prayer: Most loving Father, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for our families. Thank you for the love that binds us together into the greater family of believers. May our hearts and minds realize how thankful we are to you for these wonderful gifts. May your Holy Spirit go with us each and every day and guide our footsteps so we may become more like Jesus. Amen