It's Not Always Picture Perfect

The picture "Freedom From Want", by beloved painter Norman Rockwell, is a wonderful depiction of the All-American holiday, Thanksgiving Day. This poignant painting seems so simple, yet it is actually very complex. For example, it has over 100 different shades of the color white in it. Sometimes, looking at the big picture, we miss the details.

For many across the country, their day will be as perfect as this picture, a festive day filled with family, friends, football and food, food, food. But for some, Thanksgiving Day will be a sad reminder of loss, pain, absence, hurt.

Today, through the "magic" of Facebook, I heard from a young single mother who was seeking the ex-wife of her baby's father, a man who had abandoned her and their son. While I wasn't the person she was looking for, I offered to pray for her, and plan to followup with her. This Thanksgiving Day will be difficult for her and her little boy, and for so many others like her. It will be difficult for families with soldiers overseas, for single people longing for a family unit, for those with health issues, haunting memories or too many bills and not enough income.

When we face difficult times, is it possible to offer thanksgiving to God? Two days ago, I shared that Jesus gave thanks when He broke the bread representing His body broken at the hands of His betrayer and His crucifiers. How was He able to do so? The writer of Hebrews tells us that He endured the cross for the joy set before Him. He fixed His eyes on the joy of what He was accomplishing - the reconciliation of His people to Himself - and we are told to fix our eyes on Him. (Hebrews 12:2)

He was able to offer thanks, because He was filled with thanks. It is out of the abundance of our hearts that our mouths speak (Luke 6:45) So if we are filled with thanks, we will offer thanksgiving. My friend, Lisa, sent out an email this week and signed it "Happy Thankful Day!" We can't give what we don't have. So to give thanks, we must be thankful.

We don't offer thanksgiving just because we are feeling thankful. We offer it because He deserves it. We offer it because we are His children with all the benefits that relationship provides. He is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. Period. Circumstances change. We change. He never changes.

Tonight, a pop-up ad for Oscar Mayer bacon streamed across my computer screen.
"Thanksgiving doesn't  have to end Thursday night  
....for the love of bacon."

Hmmm, I'd rather say it this way:

"Thanksgiving doesn't have to end Thursday night 
....for the love of Jesus."

Lord, thank You for Your unfailing, unending love for us. May we all experience Your presence today. May we sense Your love and provision. And as we fill up with thankfulness, may we offer up thanksgiving as a testimony to You.



Heckety said...

Its a lovely painting, Norman Rockwell is thought provoking as well as delightful. I suppose because he makes us feel thankful for the beautiful way he portrays things, as well as thankful for his skill and talent.
I liked your post, it is all so true, and needs to be remembered at all times, not just good times. Did Jesus say 'In ALL things give thanks' or was it 'now and again when you feel like it give thanks'?!

Cheri Bunch said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Susan.
It really wasn't a picture perfect holiday for me today. I was alone most of the day (we are celebrating tomorrow so that our son, who has to work today, can join us). Caleb's friend, Brock passed away a little after midnight. I could not stop the tears after the message came.
I put on a new WOW cd that I picked up the other day at Mardell;s which had the beautiful song by Jeremy Camp called There Will Be A Day. It talks about the fact that there will be a day when there will be no more tears and we will see Jesus. Brock is with Jesus now, his family finds comfort in that, if it could only erase the pain of letting go.
So thankful for Jesus! Our most treasured gift!

Blessings to you and yours!

Love you,

Jill said...

AMEN!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Love you

Kelly said...

You are such a blessing, my friend. May the Lord totally bless your day today!