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Thanksgiving is filled with important decisions: Pumpkin or apple? Whipped or scalloped? Before the game or after? But there is no question when it comes to the central purpose of the day: We set aside this day to give thanks to our gracious and loving God.

It’s very easy, on a daily basis, to give thanks in broad strokes. We give thanks for family, friends, good health, and prosperity with the same ease with which we accept them from the Father. But Thanksgiving is an ideal time to dig deeper, to think more precisely, and to acknowledge God’s presence in even the most unexpected places and moments – the touch of a friend’s hand in a moment of sadness, the smile of a stranger on a dark day, the small still voice that reassures us of His unwavering love amidst chaos.

As we give thanks for our good fortune, may we also give thanks for the trials that reveal God’s strength and support. As we give thanks for the loving family, may we also ask for blessings on those for whom we are estranged, knowing that God is still with them. As we give thanks for the friends with whom we laugh, may we also sing praises for the friends who mourn and pray and sit in patience silence with us. As we give thanks for they justice and mercy with which God showers us, may we ask that He do the same for all who need His truth and His might to pull them back to His side.

This Thanksgiving, while we celebrate, may we also pause to take stock of all the ways, large and small, in which God manifests His love and grace in our lives. May we point out these moments to each other, for in doing so, we share His love.

And may our blessings outnumber our calories.

“We thank Thee, then, O Father, for all things
bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest, our life, our health, and food;
No gifts have we to offer, for all Thy love imparts,
But that which Thou desirest, our humble,
thankful hearts.”
Matthias Claudius, 1782