Thanksgiving and the Elijah Moment

 In Blog, Charles Cavanaugh

What is it: that aroma? It’s a mixture of turkey and dressing, ham and sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie. For many of us, these are the smells of Thanksgiving. And along with these come the sounds: the chatter of family “catching up”; the yells of fans whose team just scored; children laughing and running through the house. For many of us, this is Thanksgiving.

While there are many among us whose holidays are punctuated by memories of past tragedies, which make them more difficult to enjoy, all of us who know Christ have every reason to be thankful. In America, we have the benefits of those who have given their lives for our freedom and the blessings of our Judeo-Christian heritage. The tradition of family, food, and football are enjoyed with a sense of right as much as privilege. Christians and non-Christians alike will gather ’round and “give thanks”: the latter, to nothing or no one in particular; the former to the God of all mercies.

While we enjoy so much and give copious thanks, there is a danger that even the most grateful among us must work to avoid. I call it the Elijah moment. You may remember that Elijah’s life and ministry were particularly blessed by the Lord. He had seen miracles and mercies that few humans have been privileged to witness. God had answered his prayer to withhold rain and met with him to put to shame the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.

Elijah was a man of the same weaknesses as us, and like us, he was prone to forget God’s goodness or remember it while moaning about something else. Not that Elijah’s problems were insignificant. After the victory at Mount Carmel, his life was threatened and he was left to hide in the desert without food and water. He despaired of life and questioned the God he had so faithfully trusted. It was a low point in Elijah’s otherwise  faithful life and ministry.

But lest we are too hard on the Prophet, we are all prone to the Elijah moment. We are often “giving thanks for one thing in spite of something else”; or we are giving thanks for one thing while complaining about something else. Truth is, life is not perfect, nor is it supposed to be this side of eternity. On this Thanksgiving and each day after, we must seek the grace to give thanks always and in everything. We must pursue a grateful life; a life focused on the riches of God’s grace, the abundance of His mercies,and the depths of His love in Christ: no matter what future Thanksgivings may bring.

In the love of Christ,
Charles Cavanaugh

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