Giving Thanks for Christmas Year Around
Christmas Celebrations, oops I mean, Thanksgiving Celebrations are almost here, are you ready? Or maybe I do mean Christmas, as a walk through my neighborhood just in the last few days has revealed a few neighbors really rushing the season as Christmas trees shine colorfully through more than one window. Maybe my neighbors are more like Billy, in the Family Circus. Billy was at the grocery store with his mother picking out a turkey when he turned to her and said, “Thanksgiving should come AFTER Christmas, then we’d have more things to be thankful for.” Billy may have a point, at least from the perspective of being thankful for Christmas. It does need to be clearly acknowledged that without the Christ child’s birth setting and the fulfillment of God’s plan for our salvation in place, there wouldn’t be a lot to be thankful for.
This Sunday concludes the liturgical year in the church with the acclamation of the royalty of Christ, with Christ the King Sunday. Certainly, we acclaim Christ throughout the year in the church, but this is the designated recognition, for in just a few weeks we will be singing fully with “Come and Worship,” and “Hark! The Herald Angels sing, glory to the newborn king,” as we celebrate Christmas. So, perhaps, before we move into the celebration of the wondrous birth, it is important that we sit back and take account of exactly what we have to give Thanksgiving for today.
Politically Correct Thanksgiving?
Retailers have seemed to be pushing Christmas since early October appearing ready to skip over Thanksgiving and move right into the sales of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the push of more of the things we think we want but in reality, probably don’t need. Perhaps it is business as usual, the bottom line and all of that, or maybe retailers also don’t want to offend someone with Thanksgiving.
It seems that in today’s politically correct environment the world at large fears of offending someone with their Thanksgivings, for who exactly are we thanking, if not God? So, instead, the politically correct just gloss over the Thanksgiving holiday and move straight into Christmas, focusing not on the meaning of Christmas and the greatest gift given to humanity but instead the temporary gifts given to each other. The world appears to approach the Thanksgiving holiday and its origins much like the report of one fourth grader. “The pilgrims came here seeking freedom of you know what, When they landed, they gave thanks to you know Who. Because of them, we can worship each Sunday, you know were.”
Improving Our Arithmetic
Thanksgiving is a time to improve in gratefulness and reflect all the good that life brings. Billy’s grandmother, in the Family Circus cartoon, reminds him to “Always count your blessing.” To this, he replies, “But I’m not very good at arithmetic.” Perhaps we all need to improve our arithmetic in the area of gratitude reminding ourselves of God’s glorious power. As we learn and know God better our gratitude and Thanksgiving is not only more clearly seen but strengthened, which also provides us with the endurance and patience needed for life. It is in this that we see and experience joy creating a greater cycle of Thanksgiving.
Being filled with the glory of God through Thanksgiving does indeed strengthen us for the journey of life helping us not only be patient with ourselves but with others that collide with our path. It is important that even in the difficult times of life we remember that God is all-powerful, and it is only through Him that we can find the strength and motivation to get through difficult life circumstances. Furthermore, it is only through Him that even in the midst of life upsets that joy can still prevail. Through this way of thinking, we can understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he said he learned to be content with what he had and the circumstances he was in. (Philippians 4:11-14) May our Thanksgiving prayers for ourselves and others reflect this week’s focus verse.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy.Colossians 1:11 (NLT)
A True Thanksgiving
As we approach Thanksgiving, both the official holiday and every day, let us remember that we can fully trust that the promises of God will always prevail. Placing our full trust in Christ so that our attitudes and appetites reflect a status of accepting His provision and power to live for Him, fully recognizing the difference between wants and needs. It is clear that in our broken world that we most likely won’t receive all that we want even if we feel we deserve it.
A true Thanksgiving recognizes the full power we receive in union with Christ and it is in this place that we know that this union allows us to be sufficient to do His will and face the challenges that arise from our commitment to Him. By placing our trust securely in Him we can contend through life facing troubles, pressures, and trials, but knowing that with Christ we hold the power to be strengthened. When we keep our priorities straight, we can be fully grateful and offer a true Thanksgiving to God for all He provides us.
Won’t you find the challenge to accept the strength and endurance along with the patience to trust fully in the power of God, giving Him your true Thanksgiving praise? Allow your convictions to secure your knowledge in His glorious power. Find your motivation to move forward in faith leaning fully on Him to provide your strength. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that God holds you lovingly and carefully in His hands giving you joy no matter your circumstances and for that, a true and joyful Thanksgiving is due.
Love in Christ,
He that is a stranger to prayer is a stranger to power.Billy Sunday
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you celebrate Thanksgiving year around? Have you sought the need to rush through Thanksgiving to get to the “good stuff” of Christmas? Share your thoughts on the need to take time to offer a true Thanksgiving not just once a year for the strength that Christ gives you in your life to keep moving forward.