Thanksgiving

Christians do not agree about the celebration of Halloween.  There is some dispute over Christmas.  Let’s embrace Thanksgiving for all its worth.

There is an argument to be made for the Christian roots of Halloween.  The very name is created from the words Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints Day.  But let’s be honest, unless you’re Roman Catholic most American do not celebrate All Saints (or even know what it is).  Would you celebrate Christmas Eve if you didn’t believe in Christmas?  Halloween may also have roots in paganism, and is certainly associated today with the occult and many “non-Christian” activities as well.

I love Christmas, but many are turned off by what our culture has done to it.  When the commercialization, uh, I mean celebration of Christmas begins in mid-October and lasts through New Year’s lots of people are sick of it by December 25th.  Some Christians (and I’ve become an advocate of doing both) have turned to observing Advent as an alternative.  We don’t have to take back Christmas from the culture; in our homes and churches we can celebrate the prophesies and await their fulfillment.  Some Christians simply do not acknowledge Christmas in any form.

Let me open this can of worms: we have no scriptural mandate to celebrate the birth of Christ.  The Jews were waiting for the Messiah to come.  He did.  Advent celebrates the virtue of believing God’s promises and awaiting their fulfillment, and reminds us to be faithful he will come again.  It’s a way to realize God is not slack concerning his promises.  The incarnation is a big deal, but it culminates in his death, burial and resurrection.  Look at the gifts brought by the wise men.  Myrrh?  That’s used to anoint a body for burial.  What a gift for a newborn.  Again, I love Christmas and I’m not telling you to give it up.  But thoughtfully consider how much of what we do in the name of Christmas is Christ-like.  It comes with a lot of baggage, that’s all I’m saying.

We should be all about Thanksgiving.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise!  (Psalm 100:4)  Every good and every perfect gift is from above… (James 1:17)  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:4-5)

The Bible is perfectly clear – we are totally without hope on our own.  We are warned not to trust our own might or understanding. God feeds the tiniest sparrow (Matthew 6) and we are worth much more to God than that.  He gives us life and feeds us by his hand.  There is much to be thankful for.  Even in a recession we live in the most prosperous and productive nation in the world.  We are abundantly, overly blessed.  And lest we feel we worked hard for that, consider where the health came from to do that work.  If you have a strong back or a sharp mind, give thanks to God for those things.

There’s enough Christmas already.  I encourage Christians in particular to wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the tree and twinkling lights.  Two years ago I handed out Thanksgiving cards; I wrote a short paragraph explaining to about 50 or 60 people why I was thankful for them.  Many of my Facebook friends are doing the 30 days of Thanksgiving, listing one thing each day they are thankful for.  I’m posting one verse or paragraph from Psalms each day.  That same verse appears in the left-hand sidebar on this website.  Give away a meal.  Support your church or local foodbank.  Tell your family and friends you are thankful for them and why.

And give the glory and honor to God, who alone is worthy of worship and praise.

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