Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grace Upon Grace

Yes, the blog as I knew it has been tweaked slightly, but I feel WYPW is a staple that should not be kicked to the curb along with my old header. And blog name. And dignity.

So, even though nobody reads my blog anyway, I will continue this tradition. Because I'm SO big on those.

Which, incidentally, leads me to my point, believe it or not. Didn't leave that question dangling out there for long, now did I?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. President Washington held the first "official" one during his first year in office. A "Day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer" he called it, no less. It was a tradition celebrated by most colonies already but this was a first as a nation. And then President Lincoln made it an official holiday to be celebrated the fourth Thursday in November. And then President Roosevelt moved it to the third Thursday. Because that would extend the holiday shopping season. Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer indeed. His best to the Pilgrims, no doubt.

Of course John Piper, on Facebook, has to throw down the gauntlet with this reminder of the very words of Jesus,

"Whenever you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers, or your relatives or your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and it be a repayment for you. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For it will be repaid to you in the resurrection of the just." (Luke 14:12–14)

Jesus really said those words. Why have I never put that in the context of our Thanksgiving meal before?

So if it's not a day of public thanksgiving and prayer (I've never publicly done either on this day) and it's not a feast to which I invite those that could never repay, what is it? My holiday angst. I don't get like this around Halloween. It's all so straightforward (unless you consider the slave labor chocolate issue.) But I struggle (no, not "struggle." That implies much more passion than is really involved.) I brood the issue (over pumpkin pie of course) from now until Easter.

I think I'm thankful. I say "thank you" a lot. Does that count? In prayers. In conversations. I try to express gratitude because I really do see that what I get to partake in are undeserved, yea, ill-deserved, blessings that I absolutely would be lost without. And I know God is the Giver. And I happen to really like a large portion of what he has given and the things I happen not to be so fond of really pale in comparison so thankfulness, while labored at times, is pretty easy to produce. Of course, I've never set sail for a foreign land, watched most of my co-Pilgrims die, struggle through brutal winters, and then come through it all with food and shelter and faith so it's hard to say, really.

We've been teaching the boys "For the Beauty of the Earth" and "We Gather Together." Because they are terribly Thanksgivingy hymns and it just seems appropriate. I really like them both but the words of "We Gather Together" are particularly encouraging.

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be;
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

1 comment:

Dianna said...

Well, it will b hard to write this since I didn't read it (nobody does), but that is one of my favorite hymns ever!! I even knew the other verses.. I am glad you are writing again. I love the wit!

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