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COLUMN: We don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to give thanks to God

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By Jon Rohr

Believe it or not Thanksgiving is next Thursday. I remember sharing Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ house, lots of kids, lots of food, and lots of fun. I hope you have a lot of memories like that.
But I also remember my grandfather’s prayers. After everybody finally showed up and all the kids were finally corralled, we would bow our heads. Then my grandfather would pray, he would give thanks for the food, he would give thanks for the family, and sometimes he would even call us by name. As a child I remember
thinking those prayers went on and on, but now I wonder that they didn’t go on longer.
In a busy world, in a room filled with rambunctious kids, for just a moment in time we stopped to give thanks. As my grandfather spoke, I probably fidgeted like any kid, but looking back I know he spoke for all of us. In that moment of prayer, we were reminded that God sends us so many good gifts, from food, to friends, to family, from health to happiness.
Jesus once shared a meal with his disciples, he broke bread with them and told them, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19 NIV).
In church, we remember that meal as we share the Lord’s Supper, but I think Jesus meant more than a ceremony at church. I think he meant for us to remember him whenever we share a meal together.
My grandfather understood that our moments together as family are precious; they are gifts from God himself. So when we gathered, he always made sure that the Lord was a part of our gathering. In giving thanks, he reminded us of God’s grace and his goodness. Those Thanksgiving meals stand out, but he also prayed over our Easter ham or our Christmas casserole, whenever we gathered, he prayed.
Thanksgiving is next Thursday, but you don’t have to wait to remember God’s good gifts. Tonight as you sit down to dinner, take a moment to give thanks. Take a moment to remember all the Lord has done for you. Take a moment to give thanks for his goodness and mercy. One day, probably sooner than you know, your kids or grandkids will remember those prayers and give thanks themselves.