Unlike retailers would have us believe, Thanksgiving is more than a day to overindulge in food, watch football, and then rush stores in a state of hysteria without regard for decency. Anymore, it seems like even the notion of truly stopping to acknowledge our blessings is convenient merely as a delay to allow for the end displays, sale signs, and check-out lines to be erected before the Black Friday sales.
Thanksgiving is treated like a hangover from Halloween with clearance priced costumes and orange-foiled candy wedged tightly against the avalanche of Christmas overindulgence. I like to treat Thanksgiving as its own day, a day without the shadows of other holidays.
If we all stopped for just one day to count our blessings and be truly thankful, imagine the difference. What if that thankfulness seeped into Friday? Or Saturday? Or December? Or the dreary month of March? Would we all be just a little bit more content? Would we be more compassionate to those who have less? Would we be more willing to acknowledge the injustices of this world?
James 1:27 " Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
As Christmas nears, we will see the idyllic manger scenes with the adorable baby. Although Jesus' birth should be celebrated, his death should be exalted. The picture of a baby is not offensive but his mere birth did not bring about our greatest blessing. His torturous death is the greatest blessing he could have given anyone.
Today, I am thankful that knowing what would occur--the pain and abandonment--Jesus chose to fulfill his role as the Savior.
Luke 22:42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
He could have saved himself from death but instead chose to endure torture and die the most painful form of death so that he could bear the burden of a world's sins. Through his death anyone who believes and trusts has the opportunity to be redeemed and find eternal peace in Heaven.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
I will never be good enough to earn my way into Heaven. I fail every day. My thoughts stray to sarcasm and judgment. Sometimes I yell. Every once in a while, I give some no-good inanimate object that isn't doing its job a good pitch, usually into the field. But nonetheless, my eternal home is secure because Christ died for my sins so that I can be forgiven for everything that I've done and all that I do in the future.
This isn't a free pass to sin, it's the promise of redemption for our humanness when we're trying to take the narrow path.