For the last several years it has felt to me that Thanksgiving has become a bit of an afterthought to Christmas. And trust me, I love Christmas. My favorite movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life”, I have A Charlie Brown Christmas tree on display in my office all year, and I have been listening to Christmas music since….well…I never really stopped.
It is mid-November and Christmas movies are already on TV, Christmas music is already hitting the airwaves, Christmas lights adorn our neighborhoods and Christmas displays are up and buzzing in every store we visit.
As a Christmas kinda guy, I love all that. Absolutely love it.
For as long as I can remember, Christmas and Thanksgiving have been bundled together, and that really is a good thing! Any kid in school can explain why Thanksgiving means that the teachers lighten up just a bit, and Christmas break is all that much closer.
But what I don’t enjoy is when Thanksgiving simply gets lost in the Christmas hustle and bustle, becoming a mere gateway to “the Holiday Season”.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the blessings we have been given in this turbulent world we call home, and to give praise to God for all He has carried us through. It is a day to remember those who are less fortunate than we, and to consider ways to shine a light and offer a helping hand to those in need.
Thanksgiving is also a wonderful time to give thanks for the Savior, who was born that we might be born again.
When we give thanks, we join with the Pilgrims who first joined in peace, cooperation and celebration with Squanto and the Native Americans,
We join George Washington, who appointed a day of thanks to “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”
We join John Adams, who asked that we give thanks and pray to God “that He would smile on our colleges, academies, schools, and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of sound science, morals, and religion”,
We join Abraham Lincoln, who solidified the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens… and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to to heal the wounds of the nation…”
We join with the Apostle Paul, who encouraged us by writing, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
And most importantly, we join with Jesus, who regularly gave thanks to the Father during His time on earth.
Thanksgiving is and should be a special and unique time to give thanks for all we are blessed with, to confess our sins to a loving God who is faithful to forgive our sins, to ask Him to heal the wounds of our nation, and to ask His peace and favor to be upon us as we seek to do His will in the coming year.
Thanksgiving is a special time, and much much more than just pre-Christmas.