Even though we are being rushed from Halloween straight to Christmas these days, we cannot overlook the fact that this Thursday is Thanksgiving.
Although established by political action and not a strictly religious holiday, Thanksgiving originated with an outpouring of thankfulness to God on the part of the Pilgrim Fathers in gratitude for their survival under tremendous odds in the new land. In many ways their first year had been a disaster; they’d lost everything they had in their old life and found loss and hardship in the new land, as well. And still they gave thanks.
Today, the Holiday Season begins each year with the pagan/superstition festival of Halloween, pauses briefly on the day of counting one’s blessings, and then diverges into two separate paths.
For Christians, giving thanks to God for the blessings of the year leads to the Advent season when we prepare our hearts for consideration of the miracle of God’s gift of salvation through His Son, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. While for many in our secular society, the family, football, and food fest of Thanksgiving, followed immediately by the shopping frenzy of Black Friday, is the kick-off to a month of consumerism and sentimentality.
The days following Christmas bring us all back together as we face the New Year with resolutions, hopes, and fears for the future.
How one celebrates these holidays is a clear demonstration of one’s world view.
If you count your lucky stars, or feel a sort of general thankfulness that your life is good, if Christmas means nothing more than family, gifts, and traditions, you may not know the great blessing of being able to face each New year without fear, knowing that the loving God who created the universe is in control.
If you thank God for the ups and downs, the blessings and struggles of the past year, and know that Christmas is both historical miracle and promise of eternal salvation, then you have Happy Holidays, indeed.
Have a happy Thanksgiving… a blessed time giving thanks to the One who gives us everything. Thank God.
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT) 1 Thessalonians 5:18