Gratitude from the Land. Thanksgiving, 2016
11/21/2016 11:37:25 AM
Could it be God's favorite season of the year?
Gratitude from the Land. Thanksgiving, 2016.
I consulted my watch—53 minutes until I landed in the Holy Land. Just can’t quite believe it. Everything up to this has seemed like one exhausting build up—much preparation, security lines, 14+ hour flight. At 4:55 a.m., on one of my laps around the plane, I saw an Orthodox man praying toward the wall, bobbing (as it were) back and forth, tefillah1 on his forehead. A preamble to what was coming.
While I had great anticipation for what lay ahead, I did not have expectations—I held those at bay. Some people thought me crazy for going to a land torn with strife, others were jealous, most knew it would be incredibly meaningful for me to see, touch, walk and even taste the land of Jesus, particularly as a Bible teacher.
In the next weeks, I will weave in stories from the Land and her people with the seasons our land and people are celebrating.
This is the week of Thanksgiving in America, also celebrated in Canada, Puerto Rico, and western Africa. In this week, I have great anticipation! When I finally touched down on American soil, the day, the flight, security and customs rendered me numb; when finally my head hit the pillow, I slept a solid 18 hours, and even then was awakened! Still getting my bearings several days later.
Perhaps this is the set-apart time of the year in which we please God the most. No gifts expected, just family and friends and food . . . and most importantly, giving thanks to our great God. At church yesterday, we had a great message on the power of gratitude in our lives.2 Scripture speaks of giving thanks about 75 times. When a little girl of five years old, I memorized Psalm 100; it is still near and dear to me. Take a look:
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.3
Ah, indeed the Lord is good, and worthy of our thanks-giving. Interesting to note, powerful research out of Harvard Medical School indicates that gratitude not only enhances our mental health, but also our physical health as well.4 David got it right in Psalm 92, It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.
Let’s get radical, let’s improve our mental and physical health and heed the psalmist’s words—giving thanks seven times a day.5 Will you take my challenge . . . intentionally thanking God seven times a day?
Perhaps three in the morning as the day is new, and
four more before you lay your head down when the day is through.
Be part of resurrecting a spirit of gratitude across our land . . . I thank thee, God, for your truth endures to all generations!
1. I thank thee, God, for ____________
2. I thank thee, God, for ____________
3. I thank thee, God, for ____________
4. I thank thee, God, for ____________
5. I thank thee, God, for ____________
6. I thank thee, God, for ____________
7. I thank thee, God, for ____________
1 – Tefillah also called phylactery, small black leather box containing scripture from the Torah, worn during prayer
2 – Cole Beshore, Mariners Ocean Hills Church, http://www.marinerschurch.org/ocean-hills/
3 – Psalm 100, NKJV
4 - “In Praise of Gratitude,” Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude.
5 – Psalm 119.164