I’m an unabashed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade watcher.
(Wow, that’s probably something you didn’t need to know about the new District President.)
My Mom taught me to love the parade and I carry on that tradition in her honor. The mood’s got to be just right. So, I light a fire in the fireplace (just the fake gas log– air quality management concerns, you know), open both sliding doors in the family room to put a chill in the air (tough living in Southern California!), prop my socked-feet up on the table and hug my favorite coffee cup full of goodness. I usually do all this by myself. I could never get the family excited about cartoon balloons, lip-syncing pop stars, Broadway song and dance exhibitions, and Al Roker’s weather updates. (My family has, for some weird reason, settled on the National Dog Show as their tradition – honestly, I think it has more to do with sleeping in than anything else.)
If I’m honest with myself, I think that if I spent some time with a therapist on this obsession it would reveal an odd romanticized connection to the Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street, through which I probably filter my parade watching. (It always seems to be something like that takes the fun out of everything!)
I remember the Thanksgiving morning, following a Thanksgiving Eve worship service when I told the church, as part of my sermon, the sad tale that I usually watched by myself. That morning – just as Al yelled, “Let the parade begin!” there was a knock on the door and one of our Costa Mesa families marched in and watched the parade with me. Now, that’s friendship!
The real inside scoop is that I use my “parade time” to take a journey down memory lane, to reflect, to give thanks for Kath and the boys, my family and friends, the incredible privilege I have to live out a calling as a career, for the wonderful and messy country in which we live, to remember loved ones already in Heaven and their impact on my life, and to shed a few tears.
But, so far, there isn’t much about my Thanksgiving morning that isn’t repeated by millions of people across our country. What’s the big difference-maker for me? It’s a recognition and a thankful heart for all that God has done for me in Jesus Christ! Without that, it all comes up pretty empty.
King David got it right.
Try putting Psalm 100 at the “center” of your Thanksgiving. Let your soul sing it out!
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Now, that’s the right filter for a Thanksgiving Day!
May Your Thanksgiving Be FULL of the Celebrations of God’s Blessings in Your Life.
Rev. Dr. Mike Gibson
Pacific Southwest District - LCMS