Thanksgiving Day

We live in a land of abundance. Here are a few facts from the U.S. Census Bureau as you begin to think about your Thanksgiving Day menu.

  • The U.S. produced 242 million turkeys in 2010. That’s 2% less than 2009. In 2009 the turkeys produced weighed 7.1 billion pounds altogether and were valued at $3.6 billion.
  • The U.S. is expected to raise 735 million pounds of cranberries this year.
  • The U.S. produced 1.9 billion pounds of sweet potatoes in 2009.
  • The U.S. produced 931 million pounds of pumpkin in 2009 at a value of $103 million.
  • The U.S. is expected to produce 2.2 billion bushels of wheat this year.
  • The US contracted 736,680 tons of green beans produced this year.
  • Yet, abundance has a risk. Gary H. Hall writes, “The road from dependency [on God] to self-centered sufficiency is paved with material wealth.”[1] When abundance is present, we may fail to see beyond the gifts to the Divine Giver.

    Moses warns against just such a danger in Deuteronomy 8. He reminds the people, “…man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3b, ESV). Moses looks forward to the abundance of the promised land, but he warns the people, “…lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God…” (Deuteronomy 8:12-14a, ESV).

    I noticed some recent definitions and comments on Thanksgiving Day: “…annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year…The holiday associated with Pilgrims and Native Americans has come to symbolize intercultural peace, America’s opportunity for newcomers, and the sanctity of home and family.”[2] It seems very easy to leave thanking God out of the picture.

    May our abundance turn our hearts to God in thanksgiving!

    [1] Gary H. Hall, The College Press NIV Commentary: Deuteronomy, p. 171.

    [2] “Thanksgiving Day,” Encyclopædia Britannica 2005.

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