Red and green lights reflect off the snow as I drive slowly through my neighborhood, enjoying the decorations in my neighbors’ yards. Christmas music blares through my car’s speakers while tiny snowflakes fall from the sky, ending their journey on my windshield. Parking the car, I swing open the door and am confronted with a blast of cold air mixed with the smell of pine needles and wet snow.
I step inside my cozy little home, and there in my kitchen is… a scarecrow? A garland of leaves? Pumpkin cookies?
Oh yes, I nearly forgot. It’s still November. We still have to get through Thanksgiving before my parents will even crack the lid on the dusty old bin of Christmas decorations. I have to contain my excitement for Christmas a bit longer—just until Thanksgiving is out of the way.
Why take the time to be thankful when Christmas is coming? Stores, TV commercials, and radio stations transfer immediately from Halloween to Christmas in the matter of just a few days. Thanksgiving is pretty much represented by a big meal, some football, and a huge, chaotic shopping spree. It’s kind of like the prelude to Christmas.
Oh, and sometimes I’ll see an occasional paper plate decked out in leaves, scarecrows, and pumpkins that reads, “give thanks.” For those who do not know the Lord, to whom do we give our thanks?
As Christians, shouldn’t we step back for a brief moment and evaluate our position on gratitude? The Bible tells us countless times to give thanks to the Lord. First Thessalonians 5:18 takes it as far as to command: “give thanks in all circumstances.”
Our first president, George Washington, a strong Christian and amazing politician, declared on October 3, 1789 that there was to be a day of Thanksgiving in America. In fact, he published a written proclamation of this official day. Washington says,
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is 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.
Modern Americans have strayed so far from this vision.
Yes, I am a Christmas fanatic. But my challenge both to myself and to you this year is this: let’s hold off on Christmas until the Friday after Thanksgiving. Let’s focus our hearts and our minds on all that God has done for us. Let’s make Thanksgiving a peaceful, memorable day of family, faith, and good food. Let’s hold off on the Christmas carols, restrain ourselves from posting scary pictures of Elf on our Facebook page, and keep the Christmas tree in the attic where it belongs.
Finally, let’s focus our eyes on Who this whole season is about. The Man who gave up His life for you and for me deserves all of our praise and devotion. This Thanksgiving, remember to give thanks to the God Who deserves it.