Just so you know, Thanksgiving comes BEFORE Christmas. Newsflash! Why take the time to be thankful when Christmas is coming? Stores, TV commercials, and radio stations transfer from Halloween right to Christmas in the matter of just a few days. Thanksgiving is pretty much represented by a big meal and a huge, chaotic shopping spree. And an occasional paper plate decked out in leaves, scarecrows, and pumpkins that reads, “give thanks”. I wonder, if you don’t believe in God, to whom do you “give thanks” anyway?
As Christians and as a part of our ongoing holiday challenge (click here to see the first post in this series), shouldn’t we step back for a brief moment and evaluate our position on gratitude? The Bible tells us countless times to constantly give thanks to the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 5 takes it as far as to command “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”.
In my history class, I’ve been learning about the details of our nation’s past. I just wrapped up the section about the incredible leadership of our first president, George Washington. Washington, a strong Christian and amazing politician, declared that there was to be a day of Thanksgiving in America. In fact, he published a written proclamation of this official day. While reading it the other day, I realized with dread how much our nation has twisted and mangled the idea of a national day of thanks. Washington says,
“Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; … for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed… and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all…to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; …to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.”
I’m pretty sure we as modern Americans have missed the point here. We’ve forgotten to be thankful on the very day devoted to thanksgiving!
So here’s my challenge both to myself and to you. Let’s hold off on Christmas until the Friday after Thanksgiving. Let’s focus our hearts and our minds on all that God has done for us. Let’s make Thanksgiving a peaceful, memorable day of family, faith, and good food. J Let’s hold off on the Christmas carols, restrain ourselves from posting scary pictures of Elf on our Facebook page, and keep the Christmas tree in the attic where it belongs. Finally, let’s focus our eyes on Who this whole season is about. The Man who gave up His very life for you and for me. This season, remember you’re “giving thanks” to the God deserves it beyond all measure.