God Doesn’t Celebrate Thanksgiving: A Turkey Day Reflection

It seems a bit strange that many of us will stuff our mouths this week with a bird whose life preaches against us.  For consider the turkeys, which neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.   Turkeys don’t worry, don’t horde, don’t complain.  turkeyfaceThe eyes of all turkeys wait upon You, O Lord, for You give them their food in due season; You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.  Yet here we are – our eyes waiting upon the next paycheck, waiting upon the next promotion, waiting upon Wall Street to rise and fall, waiting upon everything but You, O Lord.  So before you swallow that bite of turkey, remember that you eat a creature that surpasses you in piety.  Eat, yes, but season your turkey with the ashes of repentance as it preaches just how little your faith is, just how little you trust God, just how little you believe the Father is good to you.

And if that isn’t enough to call you to repentance, think of how not only does an animal with the pea-sized brain show you how utterly sinful you are, even brainless flowers are closer to how God intends them to be than you are.  For “consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”  Roses are red, violets are blue, colored by God, preaching to you.  Preaching – that you might confess that, at heart, you really don’t believe God wants nothing but the best for you; that daily you doubt His goodness; and that when, push comes to shove, you fear, love, and trust in just about everything more than God.  Heed those preaching flowers; heed, confess, and believe.

Believe, O sinner, that the mercies of almighty God, our heavenly Father, are new unto us every morning; believe that though we have in no wise deserved His goodness, He abundantly provides for all our wants of body and soul.  For He does, and He has, and He will.

God doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving.  He has no one to thank for the earth is the Lord’s and all it contains.  He receives nothing as gift.  Rather, He is gift. He is Giver.  God gives, we receive, and that is the sum of all reality.

Without being asked, certainly without being pressured, He floods every individual, every city, every nation of this world with gifts beyond telling.  “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all this is within me, bless His holy Name,” for all that is within me is a gift.  My body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses.  Food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, family, and on and on it goes, ever millionth of a second a million gifts received.

Do you doubt it?  Do you think that He who has given you His own Son will now withhold anything from you that you need, that is good for you?  He who delivered up His own Son to pay for your unbelief, will He do bad things to you now that He has made you a believer?  He who found you when you sought Him not, who saved you when you wanted Him not, who embraced you when you fled from His arms, will He now roll you up in a ball and cast you away as unwanted garbage?  No, a thousand times no, for He rejoices over you as a groom over His bride, He loves you as a father loves His child, He tenderly cares for you as a mother does her nursing infant.

If God so cares for turkeys, and if your Father so beautifully clothes flowers, He will most certainly clothe you with the garments of salvation and cover you with the robe of righteousness.  Indeed, He has.  He has wrapped around your body and soul the coat of His Son.  The robe of His faithful life and bloody death has been made your own.  If Joseph had his coat of many colors, then you have the coat of only two colors – white for the purity of Jesus and red for His blood.  And no jealous brothers will steal it from you.  No Potiphar’s wife will rip it from you.  He who hung naked on the cross for you will let no man or woman, no devil or false prophet, no temptation or trial, not even death with all its fury – none of them will remove from you the red and white coat of Jesus’ blood and righteousness, the robe that gives you access to the wedding feast of the King of kings.

It is truly meet, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places gives thanks to the Father, but today we do so quite intentionally and nationally.  We give thanks to the Father that He cares enough for us to use even a turkey and flowers to call us to repentance, to teach us faith, and to say once again, “Lo, I am with you always, and I love you always, and always and forever you are my beloved, my own, mine, all mine.”  Yes, thanks be to God!

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If you enjoy my writings, please consider purchasing my newly published book, The Infant Priest:  Hymns and Poems.  This poetry gives voice to the InfantPriestfrontcovertriumphs and tragedies of life in a broken world.  Whether you weep, rejoice, struggle, or hope, through these hymns and poems you can speak to God with honesty and fidelity.  By buying a copy, you will also aid mission work, for 25% of the proceeds from book sales go to benefit Lutherans in Africa.  Click here to purchase your copy.  Thanks!

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3 thoughts on “God Doesn’t Celebrate Thanksgiving: A Turkey Day Reflection

  1. Dear Brother:
    Many times over this past decade I have wondered what had become of that talented man whom I was so blessed to have as my Hebrew Professor at CTS? What of his Ph.D. studies? Now I have come across this site and, it seems, if I am reading between the lines correctly, I have my answer.

    Good to know that Christ remains good and true to us, even when life can really suck. God is found even and especially out of the midst of the thorn-bush. We wrestle with Him in the lonely night, by the river.

    I find your poetry and reflections shocking. Almost too honest. Chalk it up to the Pietism that continues to lurk within my sinful heart. But then out of the shock and stunned silence, I hear you speaking God’s pardoning Gospel Word for me and for all those in need of the Physician, Jesus Christ.

    Wherever you find yourself this day, please know that you have made a difference to the church and her ministry. Thank you for being an important part of my pastoral formation.

    Peace to you in the Wounds of Jesus.

    Lowell Sorenson
    Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church
    Red Wing, Minnesota

    • Great to hear from you, Lowell! Christ kills and Christ makes alive. He has done both to me, and will continue to do so. I am thankful that, despite my failings and flaws, He continues to use my words to speak to the church and the world. May our Lord richly bless your ministry as you stand and speak in His stead.

  2. Becky Grim on said:

    Words that are so true and hard to live by. I am constantly challenged with allowing God control of my life, always wanting more, or better circumstances, and not looking at the ways He continually blesses me where I am. I constantly am praying to trust more fully, more completely, and daily I fail. But love that you always state the Gospel…I know that even though I fail, He has taken those times I fail and uses that to strengthen my tie with Him! Grace is such a wonderful thing! Thank you for your blogs, as I am struggling to find a church that preaches the Gospel each sermon, your blogs fill in the gaps!

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