Last night my wife and I attended our own small group, and as would be expected one week before one of our nation’s most historic holidays, Thanksgiving, the topic we covered was all about thankfulness; what it means and what we as individuals are thankful for.
It got me thinking though. Have you noticed that Christmas seems to be creeping up in the calendar more and more every year? Each year it seems Thanksgiving gets more and more hidden behind the Christmas tree, Black Friday, continuous Christmas songs on the radio, and stores decked out for all the Christmas shoppers. Certainly, we still see Thanksgiving in commercials, parades, football games, and in specially marked isles at the store. But, infused in the midst of it all is the massive dominance of Christmas’ future arrival. It almost seems that mainstream America see’s Thanksgiving as a necessary nuisance along the path to gifts and eggnog.
Certainly, I am not complaining. My own Christmas tree was up in my living room on October 31st. Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, and is truly the best time of the year. Thus, why not be excited about it? And, thankful!
It is fitting that thanksgiving lands just one month before the biggest holiday of the year. It is a time of grateful consideration of God’s provisions – historically rooted as a harvest time celebration. It is done, by most believers, in great anticipation of the most amazing provision in history – the Fathers provision of His one and only son. With this in mind, then, doesn’t it seem obvious that the world would attempt to somehow dim the lights (or brighten the Christmas lights that is) on Thanksgiving so that we don’t see or observe it properly – maybe even skipping right over it?
Earlier this year I wrote a post that was all about the importance and power of thanksgiving prayers. And in that post, you can see why I believe that we cannot allow Thanksgiving to simply disappear. If we, as believers do not maintain a spirit of thankfulness, then we will soon thereafter allow the world to ultimately redefine the meaning of Christmas as well. And we all know that it efforts to that end.
Last night, in our small group, I was asked to read Colossians 3:15-17. This is one of my favorite scriptures on the importance of thankfulness. In three verses, we are asked to be and remain thankful three times. Read it aloud…
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Over the course of this next week, stop for a moment and consider the importance of being thankful. If you haven’t done so already, bring this up as a major point in your own small groups. As the Apostle Paul implores us in this scripture, despite the darkness that surrounds us, let the peace of Christ rule your heart, and say – thank you! Say thank you to our Almighty God. Say it over and over again, for He is worthy. He is the One who deserves to hear it more than any other.
At its core, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all God has done, is doing, and is going to do. The more we can thank Him for these things, the more we honor that which we celebrate a month from now. For it was in His birth that the seed of thankfulness was sowed. From there, life took over for all of us.
In thankfulness, keep going deeper, and growing stronger!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!