Cooks in kitchens all across America will find themselves gathering all of the ingredients necessary for their favorite Thanksgiving Day recipes. Many will rely upon the traditional recipes handed down for generations. The biggest challenge is not to forget a key ingredient for that favorite dish. A missing ingredient determines whether diners consume the dish or you place it in the leftover container.
Cooking a meal is an important part of the American holiday. It is not the most important part. Ultimately this day is to give thanks for the myriad blessings we have received.
However many expressions of Thanksgiving omit one key ingredient. This is the finished product many of us say, “I’m thankful for (name your blessing)” or “I’m giving thanks for (name your blessing).”
First let us consider the ingredients in these giving thanks recipes. The subject is “I”. We take ownership of being thankful.
Second, is the verb of “giving”. Depending on the form of expression the verb may be expressed by being rather than giving.
Next we have the object of what is given. That object is thanks. Giving thanks is a form of biblical prayer. It is the recognition that what we possess has been given to us.
Finally we have the object of the preposition “for.” Here is where we name our blessings. Doing this can be a spiritually healthy exercise. An old hymn reminds us to count our blessings by naming them one by one.
So what is missing? It is the object to whom thanks is given. When we give something there is a recipient. When you wrap a gift, it is incomplete until you give it to somebody. Giving thanks is no different. We give thanks to the Lord. He is the provider of all blessing.
Many focus more on the blessings when they say they are giving thanks. But it is so much more important to focus on the blesser when you recall the blessing. I am trying to say my prayer with this most important ingredient verbally included. When I include it I am more aware of what is most important. This Thanksgiving recipe looks something like this (see also the quote of Psalm 100:4-5 in the image above): I am thankful to the Lord for (insert blessing).
Summary of Ingredients
- “I” – a thankful person
- “am giving thanks” – an act of prayer
- “for my blessings” – the object for which we are thankful
- “to the Lord” – the provider of our blessings