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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Thank Offerings

Thanksgiving 2016

Sacrifice thank offerings to God,

fulfill your vows to the Most High,

and call on me in the day of trouble;

I will deliver you, and you will honor me.

Psalm 50:14-15

What if this ended up being the most beautiful Thanksgiving ever—but not from our perspective?

I’m thinking it’s going to be tough for any of us to salvage it on our end. At least here in Minnesota, where COVID cases are on the rise and necessary precautions are scaling things back to next to nothing. A week or so ago we had to break the bad news to Grammy. We’d have to settle on one family visit at a time. And now Grammy is sick, under quarantine, the whole week of Thanksgiving. And if you know her, you know this is her magnum opus every November, and it really doesn’t seem fair.

My husband and I are still planning to house a couple of our own twenty-something singles, God willing. But they’re anticipating less than ideal, too. Cousins from coasts cancelling flights; the ones in town hunkering down with immediate family. And it’s not looking like a Ben Rector Thanksgiving, after all…Sorry, Nils, maybe next year.

But what if? What if this one was extra special—in an unexpected way?

It is, after all, still the season of Thanks. And stripped down to its barest essentials, isn’t this really the heart of the day?

Sacrifice thank offerings to God…

King David once said he couldn’t give an offering that cost him nothing (1 Chronicles 21:24). And I’ll be the first to admit, each year when we’ve gathered at Grammy’s and we write out our thanks on construction paper leaves—my gratitude is an overflow of my surplus blessing. But how odd to think of thanks as sacrifice.

Until you’ve lived through 2020. And then, suddenly, this ancient concept takes on a most relevant meaning.

Thanksgiving sacrifice. And no kidding.

I’m currently reading a book about writing by singer-songwriter, Andrew Peterson. And for several days Peterson’s magnum opus song has been playing on loop in my head. Is He worthy? Is He worthy? Of all blessing and honor and glory…Released two years ago, and most likely already considered “old” in a day when music has a tragically short shelf-life…this song is oh-so-relevant, and you just might want to give it a listen sometime this week.

The song makes me think of my friend, Josh, and his baptism testimony. Years ago—it was the spring of 2015, when Felipe and Jimmy were new to our family—God used this story to give me perspective. Josh had struggled for years with depression, begging God to give him relief. And then, one day when his faith had grown weary, Josh’s dad said something that changed his life. “No matter what happens, God is worthy.” And my friend knew, in that moment, this truth. He is worthy.

Someone once said, there is a difference between knowing something is true, and knowing something as true—and I think this is probably what happened to Josh. It has happened to me, too, on a handful of occasions, a subtle shift transforming my perspective. Grace is true; to grace as true. Trust is true; and then, trust as true. And the best I can describe it, is each is its own surrender.

Which makes me think of this other favorite song…and you know what? Maybe you should just plan to cue these up after your mini-feast this Thursday. After all, you’ll have time on your hands with fewer dishes to wash. (And fewer trips to the ER with injured uncles due to turkey-bowl mishaps. Just saying.)

If the stars were made to worship so will I

If the mountains bow in reverence so will I

If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I

For if everything exists to lift You high so will I

Because I’ll tell you what. Grammy would trade a decade of turkey dinners for one day of knowing her grandkids are filling up the heavens with praise. A fragrance rising, and maybe to God it will smell just a bit like homemade mashed potatoes and gravy. And he’ll sit right down at Grammy’s empty table. And yours, too. The guest of honor in all of our homes. And it just might turn out to be the Truest Thanksgiving ever.

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