Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win (1 Corinthians 9:24, Common English Bible).
This is part 12 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.
I guess I should say first of all, please note that I said, “Pass the pigskin,” not “Pass the Pork Skins.” It is an important distinction for me. I enjoy both.
For about as long as I can remember football has been an important part of the Thanksgiving tradition for my family. We aren’t like some families who, as part of the tradition go out and have a family football game at some point during the day. Nor did I marry into a family where such was a part of the tradition.
Still, football, as much as the parades, as much as the turkey and dressing, has always been a part of the family tradition. One of my earliest Thanksgiving memories was being at my maternal grandparent’s home. As preparation for the meal that would come later was well underway, my grandparents were listening to the Texas-Texas A&M football game. I feel pretty certain that I am not the only one who has a memory such as this. Until Texas A&M left the Big XII Conference a few years ago, that game was part of many people’s family Thanksgiving tradition. Though I still get to watch the Aggies play on Thanksgiving night, playing LSU just isn’t the same as the annual match-up with the Longhorns used to be. Times do change.
For at least most of my adult life, the Thanksgiving tradition has gone, go to the location of the Thanksgiving meal, watch the Houston Thanksgiving parade, watch at least part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, eat, watch the Detroit Lions football game, eat, watch the Dallas Cowboys football game, eat, watch the Aggie football game and eat. The Lion’s and Cowboy’s games might get flipped by NFL scheduling. Oh, and did I mention, we eat?
The one thing I guess I left out above is, there is always a prayer of Thanksgiving that precedes at least one of those times we eat. We really do believe in being thankful and returning thanks, not just at Thanksgiving but at pretty well anytime we sit down to eat.
In our lesson for today Paul says we should, “run to win.” The Bible doesn’t talk about football. This is an analogy about running on the track and translating it over to life itself. Many analogies can be made using athletic endeavors. But, what I really wanted to say here is, I am thankful for football and those other pursuits. They provide a distraction, at least for a couple of hours from so much that is wrong in the world. And friends, after a week like we have had this past week, I am really thankful I can have a momentary distraction. I think we could all use it.
Much like the race for Paul was analogous to living the life in faith, the Thanksgiving football tradition, for me, is analogous to the many distractions we all face. Another Thanksgiving tradition with Cindy’s family are those who gather with the latest addition of the Houston Chronicle to look through all the many “Black Friday” ads and to plan out their Friday. I know, it is consumerism, but for me, at least for this blog, it is another Thanksgiving tradition that provides distraction for a little while, from the very real issues that are all around us.
I believe we all need those distractions. I am thankful for those distractions. So, whether your distraction, your tradition on Thanksgiving is to watch the parades or the football games (watching or playing) or flip through the numerous “Black Friday” ads, or playing a game of cards or dominoes with family or friends, or watching a movie or just curling up with a good book, take a moment to say thank you to God. You need that distraction and it is God who provides it for you.
We can never thank God enough for what we have.
Someone pass me the pigskin. Thank you God for providing us with distractions.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Grace and Peace,
Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved