One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving (second only to canned cranberry sauce) is the chance to make hand-drawn turkeys by tracing around my fingers and thumb. It’s easy. It’s fun. And you can decorate your turkey with a theme of your choice. Maybe you want to give your turkey a Darth Vader helmet or color your turkey’s feathers with your alma mater’s color scheme. Go for it!
I think that hand-traced turkeys are ingenious. Not only are they creative and doable; they also capture the spirit of Thanksgiving perfectly. Aptly named, Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for the blessings that we receive in our lives – whether they seem plentiful or few and far between. This simple craft, though, reminds us that gratitude isn’t just something that we feel; it’s something that we do. Gratitude is hands-on. It inspires action.
When we truly appreciate any of the treasures that we enjoy in our lives, we often want to share those things with others. Whether we are thankful for a loving family, or a well-paying job, or the air that we breathe each day, it is natural that we hope that others can experience such joy in their own lives. So, as relational, Christian, human beings we know that we are called to respond to our gratitude by getting to work to spread those blessings.
One of the Bible passages I like to flip to during Thanksgiving is Genesis 12. God is making unfathomable promises to Abram, and says, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” The end game here is not that Abram and all of God’s “favorite”, chosen people will be blessed. Instead, it is that everyone will be blessed.
How can we carry that idea with us this Thanksgiving wherever we go? Perhaps we can gather food in grocery bags to donate to make sure others have something to eat, too. Or we can spend some of our holiday hours volunteering at a food pantry or soup kitchen. Whatever we do, let’s remember to give thanks not only with our words, but also with our hands.
-Josh Kestner, pastor in residency