Making Thanksgiving Personal
It is Thanksgiving week, and I don’t know how to tell you how excited I am. I love Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. Christmas is my very favorite holiday, and I’m going to start celebrating Christmas at the end of this week. I always wait till after Thanksgiving to start celebrating Christmas. If you celebrate Christmas early. I know people start celebrating Christmas in July. If you celebrate Christmas early, that is great. But for me, I just don’t like running over Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. I love our family traditions for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is my very favorite meal of the year. I’m married to an Italian, and so there are a lot of great meals in the year. I love the Italian Christmas dinner tradition. So no slime on any other meal. But there is something about that Thanksgiving meal that is my very favorite. I love Thanksgiving. I love it. And I’m so excited that this is the week when we celebrate Thanksgiving, at least in the United States of America. As we prepare our hearts for this really wonderful week for this incredible celebration for the feast that I hope many of you are going to enjoy with your family and your friends coming up on Thursday. I want us to prepare our hearts by listening to this passage of Scripture. It’s Psalm 9:1, and it says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart. I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”
Making Thanksgiving Personal
I want to talk to you about making Thanksgiving personal this year. It’s very clear when you read Psalm 9:1 that Thanksgiving is a personal thing. It’s not just an idea. It’s not an abstract concept. It is a personal act towards a personal person. It goes to a person, the Lord. It says, “I will give thanks to the Lord.” When you are thankful, you are thankful to a person. And in Psalm 9:1, the person you’re thankful to is the Lord. We need to not just think about good things and blessings and all the things about our life that we like or something like that. Thanksgiving requires us to be personally thankful to the Lord. We are personally thankful to the Lord from our personal selves because the Lord has done things for us. It says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.” So with all of me, with everything of who I am, I am going to give thanks to the Lord, why it says I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. The psalmist is saying you know what I have to do. I have to give thanks to a personal God because that personal God has been personally kind to me. He has done wonderful things for me. He’s done incredible things for me. And the whole point of the Psalm is to recount those deeds and say to the Lord, thank you. To be grateful to have joyfully received and to joyfully acknowledge all that you have received. Thanksgiving is personal.
I want to ask you this week to make your Thanksgiving to the Lord personal. Think about the wonderful deeds that the Lord has done for you. Think about all the things that you have that you might not have. Think about all the family and friends that you have that you might not have. Let’s together work so that this Thanksgiving is not just a paid holiday; it’s not a time off. It’s not just the time when we start the frantic season of Christmas purchasing or whatever it is. But let’s think about the Lord. Let’s think about how good he’s been to us. I promise you if you would today, stop what you’re doing and think about not even all your wonderful deeds. The Psalmist is recounting all your wonderful deeds. You don’t have to count all of them. If you would get to two or three. And go to the Lord and say Lord with my whole heart. I am thankful for my home. With my whole heart, I am thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my church with my whole heart. I am thankful that you sent Jesus Christ to pay for my sins so that I would never die.
Make Thanksgiving personal this year, and then when you show up at your Thanksgiving table, would you do me a favor? This is a Lambert family tradition. I look forward to it. Every year, we go around our Thanksgiving table, and everybody gets a chance. Sometimes it’s two or three or four, or the number one thing, but we go around the table, and we say let’s talk about why we’re thankful. Maybe we say the thing you’re most thankful for this year. Talk about two things this year that you’re thankful for. But we go around the table, and we listen to each other talk about what we’re thankful for, and we don’t just pray prayers of thanks. We pray before all the meals in our house. We pray regularly in our house, but at Thanksgiving, to make it personal to make it special. We don’t just pray, but we pray and sing the doxology. I’ll spare you my vocalization but the doxology that says, “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. Praise him, all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” Oh, I can’t wait till Thursday when I get to hear what our guests at our Thanksgiving table have to say about the thankfulness that they have to the Lord for all the good deeds that they have. I can’t wait to hear those voices that I love so much sing the doxology in personal and overflowing praise of thanks to the Lord. I hope you’ll do it too. I hope this year you will make Thanksgiving personal to the Lord for all that he’s done for you.