Ordinary thanksgiving

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

There once was a turkey named Bill who lived on a farm, lovingly attended by a farmer and his family.  Bill strutted, preened his feathers, and gobbled as if he owned the barnyard.  Bill was also handsome, colorful, and mean.  No one–neither animals nor people–liked him, but everyone respected him.  Eventually Bill paid the supreme price for being a turkey, in a land where we annually give thanks decree of our government.  Bill’s life ended on the Thanksgiving dinner table as an ample symbol of God’s grace and nature’s bounty.

If you are like me, you will be eating turkey this long weekend.  Can you imagine Thanksgiving without it?  But it was not always so.  It used to be that turkeys like Bill were special, the fare of only the well-to-do.  If you did have the good fortune to have one for your Thanksgiving table, it indeed was reason for thanking God.  Now Bill and his kin can be bought for under $1.00 a pound.

Which raises an important question:  can you and I see God’s hand, God’s gift, in common, taken-for-granted, and inexpensive things like turkeys?  Can you and be I thankful, joyously thankful, for things that are ordinary, predictable and routine?

Near the end of the story of Noah and the flood, God assures the world of his gracious provision.  The things that we take for granted, like seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, are hardly miracles because they are so ordinary.  Yet they, along with the unexpected surprise or miraculous deliverance for which we might thank God, are also divine gifts for which we should be thankful.

And that includes the common, ordinary turkeys that will grace our dinner tables this weekend.   They, too, are gracious gifts of God, sent from heaven above.

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