Our hearts are turned to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in thanksgiving for His sacrificial and redemptive acts of love in our behalf. We receive them and what He has procured through them that we may gratefully bring glory to His Wonderful Name. “And let the peace from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].” (Col.3:15, Amp)
About this time of the year zealous religious folks seem to come out of the woodwork and attempt to rebuke others for “celebrating Christmas”, stating that it is a pagan holiday. After I posted a “Have a BlessedChristmas” message a couple of years ago on Facebook, one such person contacted me and presumptuously proceeded to lecture me on the subject. Well, the short version is that I don’t celebrate holidays, I celebrate Jesus Christ and His birth, life, words, death and resurrection each and every day of the calendar—I enjoy 365 celebrations each year! A person who attends church on Saturday once tried to lecture me that the rest of us worship on the wrong day. I allowed him to know that I worship seven days a week and wondered why he only emphasized one day of worship a week when Jesus is worthy of worship every day, all day long. Our Lord had problems with people in His days on earth who legalistically observed days and calendar events, yet their lives, morals and values were no better than the pagans who also carefully observed days and calendar events. The hope of the church is not a calendar event. The hope of the church, of all mankind and of all history is a Person, Jesus Christ. Have our calendar dates and observances made us more into the image of Christ, doing the redemptive works of Christ or has our daily personal relationship and devotion/prayer to Him benefited those we come in contact with 24/7/365? After that mean-spirited person finished attacking me, I sorta felt like I would rather spend the holiday season with those pagans who culturally celebrated the Christmas season than with them and their mean disposition (and their sad family). It is, after all, the season of lights and the season of good cheer and giving—all of which may be found in the Bible, especially giving: “For unto us a child is born, unto us A SON IS GIVEN.” (Isa.9:6); “For God so loved the world THAT HE GAVE His only begotten son’ (Jn.3:16). It would seem that loving and giving go hand in hand as exemplified by our heavenly Father.
Kathy, Melissa and I invite you to join us on Christmas Eve at 8:15pm Central Time for our annual family Christmas Eve Communion. We will be streaming live from our living room on Marty Gabler’s Facebook page reading the Word, singing, worshipping and taking communion. Join us live on Christmas Eve.
Why not a LIFESTYLE of THANKSGIVING? This Thanksgiving, may our hearts and minds be so turned to awareness of our Lord and to the giving of thanks to our Lord, that if He were to send in among us “angels unawares” (Heb.13:2), they would witness people who know the righteous God that they know, in the way that they know Him and honor Him. May such messenger/observers witness our living out our thanks rather than vocalizing it occasionally.
4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, BUT RATHER GIVING OF THANKS…
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words…
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord…
10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness…
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20 GIVING THANKS ALWAYS for all things to God the Father in the name of our LORD JESUS CHRIST… (EPH.5:4-20, NKJV)
It is a good thing to be reminded on one special day of the year that it is our full time occupation every day (while going out, while being out and while coming in) to give thanks to the LORD for goodness is not just an attribute, it is what God is and He can be nothing else. Let there be giving of thanks (in both speaking and singing) to Jahveh, who is most gracious. “It is a good and delightful thing to give thanks to the Lord, To sing praises to Your name, O Most High” (Ps.92:1, Amp)
A while back I walked into the kitchen and I said to Kathy, “That smells like Thanksgiving!”. As I walked in, I experienced a wide range of sensory connections with Thanksgiving. The smell of spices and basting meat and the odors of baking coming out of the oven filled my senses. But I also began to hear things. As memories of Thanksgivings-come-and-gone stirred in my mind, I could hear the sounds of those gatherings, those loved ones, those children, those songs, that worship—in my memory. Kathy couldn’t hear any of it but I could hear many things all at once. I had to just stand there for a minute or two, not focusing on anything in the room but looking with my memory into those sights and sounds that had been cherished and stored away in valuable files of my heart. Then, even as I write now, hot tears filled my eyes and my heart raced up at the peace and joy and delight all those sounds and people in my memory brought to me. I didn’t even realize that I had tucked those precious memories away so many years ago. But the loving atmosphere, the loving people, the lovely ambiance and delicious foods all impacted my senses then for a delightful, sensory and welcome release now. No camera could have accomplished what those pleasant experiences wrought, for they were drawn up out of the well of cherished ones and cherished things in my heart. And for a brief time they were all there, all real and all so lovely once again. I am so thankful for a rich heritage, deeply meaningful relationships and for cherished memories that still impact me today. May this Thanksgiving bring to you sights and sounds and smells that pleasantly soothe you and heal you, and may they all bring you to a fresh place of rest in our Lord. (Prov.10:7a, Amp) ”The memory of the righteous [person] is a blessing,”.
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son
And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”
Give Thanks. (Don Moen, “Give Thanks”)