by Joe Alain

Thanksgiving: The Forgotten Holiday
Joe Alain
Luke 17:11-19

Have you noticed that Thanksgiving seems to be the forgotten holiday? Candy Arrington writes, ''Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas is a lonely Thursday holiday that is slowly becoming more miniscule in the minds of millions of Americans - Thanksgiving. If you search real hard, you might find one small section of Thanksgiving cards, autumn decorations, and a turkey platter amid the aisles and miles of Halloween costumes, Christmas decorations and toys.'' How true!

For some, Thanksgiving is ''only'' a day of feasting and football. For others, Thanksgiving is ''only'' a day to get a list together prior to ''Black Friday,'' a day of marathon Christmas shopping. In speaking with a gentleman the other day, he said that as Christians we should make much of the Thanksgiving holiday because we have so much to be thankful for. And while I'm sure we here today would agree with that statement, the whole idea of gratitude can and often does escape our attention. So why is it that the meaning of Thanksgiving gets so easily lost even among Christians? Could one reason be that the focus of the Thanksgiving holiday is on God and others and not so much about us? Instead of ''getting,'' Thanksgiving celebrates ''giving'' and somehow that doesn't seem to get us as excited.

According to Jesus, Thanksgiving is easier to forget than you might think. In the story of the healing of the ten lepers, only one leper who had been healed returned to give thanks. And Jesus said to the man with the thought that all of us would overhear the story, ''Were not all ten cleansed? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?'' (Lk. 17:17-18). Only one came back and Luke reminds us that it was of all unlikely people, a foreigner in the land, a Samaritan.

As the story goes, Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and the route that he took was ''along the border between Samaria and Galilee'' (v.11) ...

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