Thanksgiving week has finally arrived here in the US. Hostesses are invisibly taking headcount around the table, turkeys are waiting to get picked up, and people are working hard to wrap up loose ends for rest, family and food.
It’s an important day.
Thanksgiving Day for us can be compared to Passover for the Israelites, where the angel of death passed by God’s people. Early in our nation’s history, a group of pilgrims who sought freedom to worship God also passed through a winter that could have spelled death.
These pilgrims struck out from life as they knew it, in order to find something better.
Those of us who are following the way of the cross are also on a pilgrimage. We leave the familiar behind — self-direction and self-fulfillment — to experience something greater: God-directed and God-filled lives.
As pilgrims of faith, we also encounter our winters.
Last week, as I drew up lists to prepare for the holidays, I wanted something more.
I felt a desire to reflect on a personal Thanksgiving pilgrimage, asking God to remind me of where I’ve been, so that I can be thankful for who He is.
I reflected on this year’s faith journey and wrote down a few words to describe my experience:
Where I’ve been —
Who God Is —
We have all walked through winters along our faith pilgrimage. Each of our experiences are different. We may find a waning friend or family relationship, the strain of financial burdens or failing health. In my case, it was the discouragement of unfulfilled hopes.
Through it all, God is faithful. God is good and He will not abandon us.
His goodness will not waver or dissipate with our shortcomings. It is His greatest triumph when He can do his work through our weakness.
Jesus doesn’t walk away. He draws near us, when no one else even notices.
Jesus Himself choose to celebrate a bit of thanksgiving — right before facing His longest winter on the cross.
We can face our winters because Christ has lived through our winters on the cross.
And for that, we are thankful.
“Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O LORD, for it is good.” Psalms 54:6
What is your Thanksgiving pilgrimage?
How has God’s goodness and provision lead you through your winter?