An equally unnerving aspect of the holidays is the way we’re thrown into the Christmas buying season even before Halloween. I actually heard “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Jingle Bells”, over the sound system at my local grocery store, two days before Halloween! Everything is decked out in black and orange, but the emphasis is red and green. The only things we hear about Thanksgiving these days are what football games are scheduled to be on TV and what’s on sale for Black Friday! What’s wrong with this picture?
I’m not going to waste your time and mine bemoaning the decadent nature of our society or how
callous we’ve become toward anything that requires more thought than flipping a light switch or pushing the mute button on the remote. When, if ever, do we get back to reality? Is there hope for our world or have we reached that “tipping point” when there is no stopping the inevitable slide into the abyss?
Driving through an S-curve at 100 miles per hour is a recipe for disaster and so is believing that the world is just going through another phase and all will be well in a few months. The harbingers of worsening events are constantly with us. We see wars and rumors of wars in every corner of the globe. Regimes, from North Korea, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela, to Russia and China are ratcheting up the pressure in a quest for world domination. Western democracies seem unwilling or unable to stem the tide of threats in a growing number of “hot spots” world wide. Is there any way out of this mess we’re in?
I hope, by now, most of you know I’ve been a little facetious with my handwringing account of gloom and doom. These, however, are serious issues, which cannot be swept under the rug. We must confront the reality that the weight of evidence points toward Christ’s imminent return and that it could occur at any time. In the interim we, as Christians, need to be ready to open ourselves up to every opportunity to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone with whom we come in contact.
Thankfulness is, I believe, the realization that we have been blessed by God in immeasurable ways and that eternity will not be sufficient to express our gratefulness. Isn’t it wonderful to consider how loving, merciful and gracious God is? Just think, a little more than a year ago, everyone in California and a few other states had the notion that drought would be our way of life forever. Now, I look back on the 45 inches of rain we received at our house, in the past year and wonder how I ever doubted that the rain would come. I’m not saying that there will never be another drought in California, it seems our state is pretty prone to that sort of thing. However, I don’t know about you, but I’m more than
convinced that God is able to handle everything that causes us anxiety and fear. My thought now becomes, what can I do to show my gratitude and love for such an amazing God?
As you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, with those you love, take a few moments before you pray to go around the table and ask each person to name one or two things they’re thankful for. As they’re speaking, if you’re able, jot down each item mentioned. Then, have the person who is praying, thank God for each item, no matter how great or small. Verbalizing your thanks gives so much more impact to the prayer. I believe that God honors our prayers of thanksgiving in very special ways.
Think about it for a moment; doesn’t it make sense that, since God already knows what your prayer will be, it’s a better plan for you to acknowledge, with gratefulness, His provision for your need before you request it. I know it sounds backward, but I’ve been thinking in reverse lately and, I must say, I’m pleased with the results.
God loves us, so much, that He sent His only Son to be the perfect atonement for our sin. Let’s, especially at Thanksgiving, love Him and just thank Him for His marvelous gift of Jesus!
DAVID’S PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
I Chronicles 29:10-20—Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said:
“Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. Yours,
O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the
majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom,
O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come
from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your
hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God,
we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my
people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come
from You, and of Your own we have given You. For we are aliens and pilgrims
before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow and
without hope. O lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to
build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own.
I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness.
As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things;
and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly
to You. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever
in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people and fix their heart toward
You. And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and
Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple
for which I have made provision.” Then David said to all the assembly, “Now
bless the Lord your God.” So all the assembly blessed the Lord God of their
fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the Lord and