What is Thanksgiving really about?


When I was in elementary school, we lived on a small farm near the Chesterfield-Dover School. We three kids attended the school and Dad was a bus driver so we were pretty well wrapped in school and school interests.

Thanksgiving was a holiday dangled before us by our teachers – not a holiday to get together with extended family and enjoy a big meal. We knew the story of the first Thanksgiving but it didn’t really reach us where we lived.

For several years I taught a one-room, eight-grade school a quarter mile or so off the road in Kentucky. Weather permitting, I could ford the river with my 4-wheel-drive Scout and park right by the schoolhouse.

Weather not permitting? It was a long, cold walk.

Seeing the need, I started a school lunch program. Government commodities were regularly distributed. To my dismay, my little school received a frozen turkey. To my dismay? I had never roasted a turkey! I knew to rub it inside and out with butter and salt and put it in the oven. But how was I to get it roasted from the time we arrived in the morning until lunch time?

Experiment! I put it in the oven when I left the day before on the lowest temperature possible and held my breath. What happened? The next morning we opened the door to a most succulent aroma! And we had to smell that all morning as we tried to do some school work to the tune of stomach growls. That was my first experience roasting a turkey. I’ve done many since then but none more memorable.

But what is Thanksgiving really about? It’s a time to spend some time in giving thanks to our ever-present, loving God for His many blessings day in and day out. Yes, even during this present pandemic with its many restrictions and challenges. God is still present, faithful, loving and just. We have to learn to give thanks for the hard things in life, but remember how hard it was for Jesus to suffer for our sins when he hung on the cross. Give thanks that He paid the price for our sins. All that is required of us is to accept Him into our hearts!

Happy Thanksgiving!