Having Psalm 23 for Thanksgiving Dinner

Nov 25th 2009

Thanksgiving was only 8 days away. Michelle, who teaches Bible in a mid-week ThanksgivingFeastchildren’s program, decided to ask her preschoolers about the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday.  She thought it would be effective to have the class playfully correct some of her wrong ideas about Thanksgiving.   “Now let me see,” she said. “Thanksgiving. That’s the day when we think about all the stuff we have. And how we want more things than anybody else has. And how we don’t care about anybody but ourselves. And… ”

“No!” the kids started to yell. “No-o-o!”  Then one little guy called out, “That’s not  Thanksgiving, Miss Michelle, that’s Christmas!”

What is the true story of Christmas?  It almost seems like there are two competing stories; the Christmas story of Consumption, and the Christmas story of  conception… the invasion of God’s presence into the reality of life on earth.  Which story of Christmas will be written in our hearts this year?

It’s an important question because it’s Thanksgiving — day of gratitude, football, and stomachs full of turkey.  Then comes Black Friday, first real day of the shopping season. So let me take you for just a moment or two to a Christmas Psalm.  It is a psalm written by a man named David… but inspired I think by the Christmas heart of God.  The words have touched a chord with millions of people through 1000’s of years.  Around the world, Psalm 23 is one of the most well-known, most well-loved passages of scripture you will ever find.

The Lord is my shepherd; I will lack nothing.  He lets me rest in green mdws; he leads me beside peaceful streams.  He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. (read the rest)

The Lord is my shepherd; I will lack nothing. I have everything I need.  I lack nothing. I can be content.  I can even be grateful. The Psalm 23 Christmas message:  No Lack. Now there’s a Christmas banner that will strike fear in the heart of the retail sector!  :)   We live in a country that has built, 16 1/2 sq ft of mall space for every man, woman and child in the country today. Last year the Minneapolis Mall of America had more visitors than the Grand Ole Opry, the Grand Canyon, and Disneyland combined!  I was there twice!

If the Lord is my Shepherd…I will lack nothing.  Imagine what would happen if consumers got ahold of that truth!  Psalm 23 is the trump card to every ad ever created.  And I know the struggle, as a parent I struggle with this feeling inside that I don’t want my kids to be disappointed,  by a smaller Christmas…. as though less stuff could shrink the true Christmas.

Here’s the deal.  The dangerous detour of Christmas is not in giving gifts…the dangerous detour of Christmas is in wanting stuff…stuff that does not bring life.  The true Christmas story is about the moment in time when Jesus came and brought all we need for life.  If Jesus is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  If that’s true, I have a lot more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving…and a lot less I need this Christmas.

I have so much for which to be thankful this year.  My dad has a re-built heart.  All my kids are home for thanksgiving.  I work with a staff team that I could even go on vacation with.  I have friends to laugh with.  I serve a church that has a passion to make a difference in the world, the humility to know that we can’t do it without God, and the grace to offer to broken people.  I have a wife that is my best friend, my partner and my heart.   And as completely amazing as all that is… if it was all taken away… because I have Jesus, I would still lack nothing.

Have a great Thanksgiving.  I’m going to eat well.  Watch football.  Laugh with my family and tell God thanks.