It’s strange that we’ll stuff our mouths today with a bird whose life preaches against us. For consider the turkeys, which neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Turkeys don’t worry, don’t horde, don’t complain. The eyes of all turkeys wait upon you, O Lord, for you give them their food in due season; you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Yet here we are: our eyes waiting upon what? The next paycheck, the next promotion, Wall Street to rise and fall. Waiting upon everything but you, O Lord. So before we swallow that bite of turkey, let’s remember that we eat a creature that surpasses us in piety, that reminds us just how little we trust God to give us this day our daily bread.
God doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. He has no one to thank. The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains. He receives nothing as gift. Rather, he is gift. He is giver. God gives, we receive, and that is the sum of all reality.
Without being asked, he floods all of us with gifts beyond telling. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all this is within me, bless his holy name,” for all that is within me is a gift. Our bodies and souls, eyes, ears, and all our members, our reason and all our senses. Food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, family. On and on it goes, every second a million gifts received.
Do you doubt it? He who has given us his own Son, will he now withhold anything from us that you need? He who delivered up his Son to pay for our unbelief, will he turn against us now that he has made us believers? He who found us when we sought him not, saved us when we wanted him not, will he now roll us up in a ball and cast us away as unwanted garbage? No, a thousand times no! He rejoices over us as a groom over his bride, he loves us as a father loves his child, he tenderly cares for us as a mother does her nursing infant.
If God feeds the turkeys with the grain of the field, he will most certainly feed us with the bread of life. He will place in our hands the cup of salvation. Indeed, he has. The manna which came down from heaven, the Son of God, gives life to the world, gives life to us. He who eats of him will never hunger again; he who drinks of him will never thirst again. He is the living bread that came down from the Father so that we may eat of him and never die. And the bread that he gives for the life of the world is his flesh, true food, and his blood, true drink. As we eat his flesh and drink his blood, he abides in us and we in him.
If God clothes the grass and arrays the lilies of the field, he will most certainly clothe us with the garments of salvation. Indeed, he has. He has wrapped around our bodies and souls the coat of his Son. The robe of his faithful life and bloody death has been made our own. As Joseph wore his coat of many colors, so we wear the coat of only two colors: white for the purity of Jesus and red for his blood. And no jealous brothers will steal it from us. No Potiphar’s wife will rip it from us. He who hung naked on the cross for us will let no man or woman, no devil or false prophet, no temptation or trial, not even death with all its fury—none of them will remove from us the red and white coat of Jesus’ blood and righteousness. This is the robe that gives us access to the wedding feast of the King of kings.
We should at all times and in all places gives thanks to the Father, but today we do so quite intentionally and nationally. We give thanks to the Father that he cares enough for us to use even a turkey to call us to repentance, to teach us faith, and to say once again, “Lo, I am with you always. I love you always. And always and forever you are my own, mine, all mine in Jesus Christ.” Yes, thanks be to God!