Do you get upset when it is Thanksgiving or before Thanksgiving and people and stores start with their Christmas season already? Does it bother you if radios stations and stores start with Christmas carols so early? What about when stores offer “early” Black Friday sales? Then there is always “that guy” who has his Christmas tree and decorations up and on 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.
I used to be the same way, but something has happened to my attitude over the past couple of years. I have come to personally view Thanksgiving differently. I now view it in light of Christmas. I now see Christmas as the number one reason to be filled with gratitude at Thanksgiving. By getting excited about Christmas and what it truly represents helps me see how much I truly have to be thankful for this time of year and all year.
Singing Christmas carols about Christ now are also carols of thanksgiving also for me. I mean, when you think of it, how much would you have to be thankful for if Jesus had never been born. No salvation no forgiveness, no love, no joy, no hope. No one to turn to when work, families, health, lives fall apart. There would be no one to put the brakes on evil in the world. The list of what we would lose is endless.
Not only that but what would you receive at Christmas time (which by the way would never exist if Christ were not born) that would be of lasting value then?
Now think of it, what is the best gift you ever received? Why was it the best? Was it because it is something you always desired? Was it because of who gave it to you? Or was it because it was just what you needed at that time in your life?
God offers us four amazing gifts all year round we can be thankful for:
- Hope is promise made in the past and present today and yet also can fill our tomorrows. Hope because with Jesus in our hearts we have a tomorrow that no one can ever take away and that can live in our hearts today.
Proverbs 24:14 – Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
Titus 3:7 – So that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
- Love is what lead to the promise of hope in the past and can be experienced today and can lead us through the hardest times yet to come. Love that nothing created that exists in the entire universe can take away, not even ourselves.
John 3:16 “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Romans 8:38-39 “38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Joy is the product of hope realized and love experienced and it is not something new and unheard of in the universe. It began in Heaven and come to us in a Manger and can satisfy our days and it can be the light at the end of any dark tunnel our future may hold. Joy that is based on a person whom we can trust in and lean on for all eternity and will never let us down and will always provide us with what we need rather than what we “want.”
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
- Peace is what God wanted for us all at the start and what can calm us in the turbulent seas of life today and offers us an anchor for our future. Peace with God, for if God be for us who is big enough to against us? I mean really, who is bigger, stronger, wiser than the actual Creator of the entire Universe? God does not promise a rose garden, but He does promise to be with us “always’” Even when we don’t feel He near, He still is and always will be by our side.
Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This Christmas God offers you four gifts you cannot buy. Gifts He purchased for you. It is His free gift to you. If you will accept them.
Lord bless you all this Christmas and every day,
Chaplain Jim Vogt