Rev. Mike Mack
Worship service Sunday mornings 9:30 a.m.
Some of us are old enough to remember when the holiday season started with Thanksgiving. You didn’t hear that much about Christmas until Thanksgiving arrived. Our families gathered for Thanksgiving, ate too much turkey and a lot of other seasonal culinary delights then we vegetated in front of the football game in the afternoon. Good times!
However, these days it will start like clockwork in October with the arrival of Pumpkin Spice everything. Before the first of November, Black Friday ads begin to arrive and be broadcasted. Simultaneously, Christmas commercials and advertisements are launched on radio and tv and the internet. Our mailboxes will be full of advertisements in the form of cards, flyers, and catalogs. Then something will click in most of us that will move us to full acquisition mode for two months while neglecting to consider the bills of January.
In the past, the clichés like, “Remember the Reason for the Season” have been proclaimed to no avail. Christmas has become commercialized to the point that most of us are relieved when its material obsession is over. In the midst of gearing up for Christmas, a holiday that may actually be more appropriate and beneficial for us is all but forgotten. It is sad to say that Thanksgiving could be forgotten.
I’m probably just getting old, but I like Thanksgiving a lot better than Christmas. I guess it’s because it’s so much less about stuff and so much more about acknowledging the goodness that God has brought into our lives. I’ll get to see my children and grandchildren at Christmas time, and it will be enjoyable to watch the excitement of the kids about gifts. However, I look forward to Thanksgiving so much more because we will be less distracted by the stuff and more attracted to the joy we share as a family.
The Apostle Paul instructs us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7, NIV)
I think what Paul is trying to help his readers see is that there is a connection between reflection and thanksgiving, and a peace that we can experience in this life that is beyond understanding. You might want to really throw yourself into the celebration of Thanksgiving, because you may need that kind of peace when the credit card bills come in January. I have come to believe that if we would celebrate Thanksgiving right, it can transform the whole Christmas season for us.
For Christians the celebration of Christ’s birth is important, and it is a special time of year. However, when it becomes so much about stuff, and so little about Christ, it bothers me a lot. I know, the sales are great on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. However, would you do me a favor? Don’t gear up for Christmas until you have truly been thankful. Don’t go shopping until you have paused to consider the favor, the goodness, and the blessings God has already provided for you in this life.
After that, Go Get Em Kid! I’ll be sleeping off the turkey.
Blessings, Pastor Mike