Thanksgiving is a tremendous American holiday and tradition. What Christian doesn’t love celebrating God’s blessings with family, food, fun and football? If you are like me and love to eat, I am guessing you will overeat just a bit on Nov. 28.
Some schools now take the whole week of Thanksgiving off, but we have classes until lunchtime on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Our day and staff students head home that Wednesday afternoon for an extended weekend with their families, but the vast majority of our boarding students remain on our campus for the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend. It is simply too far and too expensive for the majority of our dormitory students to travel home for a long weekend, so we keep our dorms open during this short break. I feel bad for our kids who can’t go home for this occasion, but I am also thankful that we get to celebrate with them.
The students typically catch up on some sleep, play video games and hang out with their friends during this break, but we do have some activities and events to help entertain them and occupy their time.
The centerpiece of those events is a great meal at noon on that Thursday. Our cafeteria is usually full of students and staff members who haven’t traveled for the holiday. We take a few moments to reflect upon God’s blessings, recognize our folks who took time away from their families to prepare the meal, pray and then attack the turkey and stuffing. This entire event seems to be over within 45 minutes and I always feel bad for our food service staff who worked many hours preparing the food.
Just as we give thanks, eat and then move along to a nap or other activities on Thanksgiving Day, we — as God’s children — oftentimes forget about God’s blessings and take them for granted. If several hundred OBI people showed up at our cafeteria at noon on Nov. 28 and there was no food to eat, I would say we would have some upset people. As Christians we always have a seat at our Father’s table. He’s faithful and on time every time, but when we feel His timing should have been different, we sometimes get upset.
Perhaps we should take I Thessalonians 5:18 to heart and give thanks in all circumstances. God’s provision for us is amazing and His provision for the Oneida ministry is astounding. Not only did the Lord ordain Oneida, but He has sustained Oneida through a depression, world wars and many other difficult times.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, please make sure to properly thank the Lord for His goodness and grace. Please know as you give thanks that we here at Oneida are giving thanks to the Lord for our blessings, and also for your love and support.
Larry Gritton is president of Oneida Baptist Institute in Oneida, Ky.