The gracious gifts of the God Most High …should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”

-Abraham Lincoln, First National Thanksgiving Day 1863

IN 1863 President Lincoln wrote Proclamation 106 to declare the last Thursday of November a national day to recognize with thanksgiving and praise all that God has done. True to form, President Lincoln drew precious attention to the widows, the orphans, mourners, and other suffering folks in this proclamation. The proclamation was written in the midst of the Civil War when most I assume were finding it hard to be grateful and thankful for anything. Yet, President Lincoln highlighted that life goes on with plenty and with abundance of good things despite the military conflict.

Admittedly, I am a little bit of a holiday crumudgeon. We seem to do everything we can to gorge our faces these days while avoiding difficult family relationships in the name of football and call that fun. A far stretch from Pilgrims, Wampanoag Indians, or just being grateful for shelter and food during war times. But even my holiday grumpiness is called into check with the those three first words of President Lincoln’s quote.

The Gracious Gifts.

The Holy Spirit pricks my cynical heart with Matthew 22:37-39.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

Two of the greatest Thanksgiving dishes we could ever serve up are to love God and love others. And why wouldn’t we? The first one is easy. The gracious gifts that God pours upon us makes it easy to love Him, to give praise to Him, to thank Him for all the good, good things He has blessed us with. But the second one is the challenge especially during the holidays.

Loving others is not easy. It actually hurts most of the time. And if we are completely out of perspective and look to gain anything from love rather than dishing it out we will be in constant discontent and discouragement.

My question to you today is why are you thankful for God’s love? 

Pretty easy to answer right?

My second question is whom are you thankful to love? 

Our prayer this week at The Sparrow’s Nest is that  you continue to receive the blessings of thankfulness for a loving God and for the blessing to love others no matter what. We pray God continues to  bless you with His most gracious gifts.

Happy Thanksgiving!