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“Thanksgiving or Thanxiety?”



Sermon: Thanksgiving or Thanxiety?”

Rev. Glenn G. Grant

Kirkridge Presbyterian Church

Transcription from November 21, 2021

Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.


Thanksgiving is upon us folks. You know what that means? If your Christmas lights aren't up, you've already missed your warm weekend.


I don't know about the rest of you, but you know what? I don't mind people that put their Christmas lights up before. As long as they don't turn them on.


And I know that there is a couple of houses in our neighborhood that just changed the color of the lights from orange to red and green. I don't think they actually changed or took anything down or put anything up. They just changed the colors. I think the inflatables changed, but it's that time of season or that season when things have conflicting messages. And part of it even is this Sunday on the church calendar, because this is Christ the King Sunday, it's the culmination of a Christian year. And pastors have a choice to make, whether they're going to preach the Christ the king texts, that is their lectionary preachers. Or if they're going to preach about Thanksgiving, that's a hard choice to make isn't it, whether it's celebrating Christ as king of our lives or whether we are saying, thanks, be to God for all we’ve been given.


Maybe we don't have to choose. Maybe it's really that we can do both. And so in our decorations, we've got the crown up here on the cross, reminding us it's Christ The king. Christ is who we claim is king. And of course in America we have difficulties claiming kingship of anybody. Don't we? There are some people that claim to be Kings themselves, but most of us don't acknowledge it.


And so we struggle with that, but we have to remember the, what really we're talking about is that Christ is number one in our lives. So that's part of it. And part of it also is this Thanksgiving theme here, our texts this morning, were both talking about promises of God. Care for the children of Israel.


And for us, you know, don't worry about what you're going to wear. Be honest, how many people had to take a moment to figure out what they were going to wear for church this morning? I was told to dress nice. See? well, whether you choose or have your choice made for you.


But we have this thing. What am I going to wear today? Debbie and I watched a movie the other night. Well, no, it was last night it was keeping up appearances on NPR, PBS, anybody ever watch that show? They were going on a cruise on the QE2.


And of course she had to have 16 suitcases worth of clothes so that she would always have the appropriate clothes and a purse. Her idea of appropriate, um, was probably about 30 years past, you know, what you would have worn for the maiden voyage of the QE two, as opposed to current day.


And there was one scene in the show where she kept changing and coming out and asking her husband, if, if that was, if he thought that was good for the occasion, and of course he wasn't paying a whole lot of attention because had already changed eight times. So when he finally says that's good, she got mad at him.


Thanksgiving is one of those times where we make a lot of choices and sometimes we get a little anxious about it too.


Do we use the good China for Thanksgiving dinner and the crystal and the silver? Now, if you do that, you know, that means that somebody after the meal is going to have to stand in the kitchen and spend time washing and drying all that China and silver, because silver doesn't do so well if you put it through the dishwasher


and sometimes neither does you're china or your crystal. or do you use. Something that can be thrown in the dishwasher or even thrown away. So you can spend time with those that are at your house or with whose house you are at. And then of course, in this year, and like last year we had this whole different dimension.


Do we dare gather for Thanksgiving?


Can we trust that nobody that's going to be in that gathering has COVID or the flu or RSV or pneumonia, and is going to share it with the rest of us.


I remember a Thanksgiving many years ago where we not only had all of our family together, but my brother-in-law was there with us. And we spent most of the weekend with the person who was least sick or take care of the buckets that everybody else was carrying around with them. Yeah. Wonderful Thanksgiving.


Right. And so we live in fear of that kind of a thing happening when we gather, especially with all the stuff that's going around right now. Can we have a Thanksgiving dinner as we remember it, you know, with everybody crowded around a table and so much food spread out on it that you can't put down the dish that you're passing because tables full


or as it was at Debbie's grandmother's house. You know, you pass everything around once your plate is full and before you can pick up the fork, she starts passing it again. So you can have seconds.


And then you look at the sideboard behind you and see the three pies, the two cakes and the trays of cookies. And it's like, I don't want more of this. I want that!


But this whole season is, you know, Thanksgiving, whether we like it or not, it kicks off the holiday season. Doesn't it? It kicks off the holiday season. Now the stores were, as far as the stores are concerned, they kicked off the holiday season. As soon as they moved the 4th of July stuff out. And they may have taken a quick break for back to school.


And some of them even maybe put a couple of racks of Halloween stuff out there, although that’s growing now, but for most of us, Thanksgiving kind of kicks off that season. You know, there's so many opportunities to make special contributions to this organization or that charity. There's so many different things going on.


There's a concert here, there's a concert there. There is a show or, you know, of course you've got your hallmark movies on TV. Of course now the streaming, I think those started about six months ago too there's so many things to choose from and you can really work yourself up and have a lot of anxiety about, you can have a lot of anxiety.


Do we have the foods that we need to have. Am I wearing the right clothes for this event? Who's going to be there. How many people are going to be there? Am I going to be comfortable being there? Do I dare be there? Maybe I can find a way to just tuning in online and streaming it, but then I don't want to be alone.


I don't want to be by myself. What kind of a Thanksgiving is it? Or holiday celebration is it if you're by yourself and we get ourselves worked up and anxious, psychologists will tell you that this is the time of year over the next month, that there are more suicides than any other part of the year.


More suicides between Thanksgiving and new years than any other time in the year. Why? Because people get themselves, worked up and filled with anxiety over all the things either they have to do or they can't do, or they don't want to do, and they feel they need to do. And it's back and forth. And it's gotten worse with COVID


and yet the scripture tells us that we should not worry about those things, that God is going to take care of us. He promised the people through Joel, that the time of famine was over that they were going to have plenty to eat and drink that they were going to have what they needed. in the gospel of Matthew Jesus tells us that God cares for us more than the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. The grass that Withers and is burned in the furnace.


So we have this tension of, do we let the season make us anxious or do we take the message of the scriptures that we don't need to worry about that stuff. That we don't need to worry about that stuff that God is going to take care of it.


Jesus said first strive for the kingdom of God and his righteousness strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness. What does it mean to strive for the kingdom of God? Well, first of all, we have to acknowledge. That God's in control. Yeah. Not us. God's in control.


Now that doesn't mean that there aren't things we have to do, you know, God's in control. somebody and I'm sure many people have asked, well, if God's in control, why does God allow people to get sick with COVID? Well, God's in control. God has allowed us to have the scientific advances that gives us ways of treating and preventing COVID, but we still have to take advantage of them.


why does God allow this? Why does God allow that? Why do we have to worry about all this? Well, you don't.


There is a native American teaching. That you should never worry about what is beyond the horizon.


You should never worry about what is beyond the horizon. And the reasoning behind that teaching is that if it's beyond the horizon, there's nothing you can do about it. There's nothing you can do about it. Now we have to realize that that teaching has been around a whole lot longer than the internet and worldwide communication and world economy.


But think about the basis of that. If it's not even where you can see it, see it mentally, see it physically, it doesn't matter, then it's not worth worrying about.


You ever see somebody pack for a trip, that packs for all the possible eventualities?


The airlines, I think have actually done us a favor by restricting how much you can carry on or even check now without paying extra fees


last night. Uh, There was a rerun of a Rick Steves, Rick Steves, he travels Europe writes all kinds of guidebooks, but there was a rerun of a program of his, where he was telling people about ways of traveling Europe to make it more enjoyable than just for the check itinerary Things with a travel agent.


And he says that for the last 20 something years, he has never taken more on a trip than what you can carry in a backpack that he can put you overhead luggage rack.


And he says, then it's not until you do that, that you realize how freeing it is.


He's not packing for all the eventualities he's packing what he needs. And I really think that that is what Jesus is saying here. And Joel is saying here to the people of Israel, is it, you only need to pack what you need. You only need to worry about what you need right now. God is in control. And in that we have so much to be thankful for, instead of worrying about who is going to be at the Thanksgiving dinner, or who's not going to be at the Thanksgiving dinner, you know, we'd like to have all of our kids at home for Thanksgiving.


We also know it's not possible. So instead of worrying about that, worry about enjoying and being thankful for the presence of the ones that you are with.


Make a phone call with the others, but be thankful for the ones that you're present with. If you were alone on Thanksgiving, instead of worrying about being alone, take that time to do something for yourself and be thankful for it.


You know read that book. You've always been wanting to read and it has been sitting on the end table for about eight months now, collecting dust,


sit back and watch that romcom movie on TV without feeling guilty about it. Yeah, you are allowed to watch something besides football and the Macys Day Parade on Thanksgiving. There are other things available, do something that reminds you of all the blessings that you have in life.


What would Thanksgiving be like? Really, if, instead of worrying about how much more Turkey costs this year than last year,


we give. Thanks. To God for the fact that we're still on the, well, now the grass is still green on the green side of the grass giving thanks to God for really being in control of our lives.


Giving thanks to God for friends, for a church, for a community.


Spend thanks giving the way it was intended to be, to begin with giving Thanks to God for all of your blessings.


If we spend our time, giving thanks. It's really, really, really difficult nigh, almost impossible to be anxious about the things we can't control.


So instead of thanxiety I let's make a truly Thanksgiving. Amen.

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