Seems like “Christmas” starts earlier every year.
I have seen more pre-Thanksgiving Christmas decorations and sales displays this year than ever before. I even have neighbors who already have decorations out.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Scrooge. I LOVE Christmas, but I also love Thanksgiving. This infringement on Thanksgiving concerns me. It seems we are more interested in getting more stuff than being thankful for the stuff we already have.
How seriously does God take thankfulness? Romans 1:18-32 provides a list of attitudes and actions that reveal hearts who’ve rejected God. There in the middle of the list we find this description (emphasis added):
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. – Romans 1:21-23
Sounds pretty serious to me.
Three Ways to Give Thanks
Let me encourage you to hold your horses on Christmas for 4 more days and spend this week in Thanksgiving. In fact, I challenge you to give thanks THREE WAYS this week.
Give Thanks FOR
Recognizing that our blessings are gifts from God helps us avoid an entitlement mentality. The old song reminds us to “count your blessings, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
We all have so many things for which we should give thanks. God’s blesses his children with all manner of good things. (James 1:17) Spend some time this week thanking God for the specific blessings he has given to you.
Give Thanks IN
The Bible also encourages us to give thanks in everything. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) God uses even what seems bad circumstances for his purposes. Our lives are not a series of disconnected random coincidences. God controls the trajectory of our lives and uses everything for his purpose of remaking us like Jesus. (Romans 8:28-29) Spend some time this week declaring your trust in God for your daily circumstances.
Give Thanks TO
Merely giving thanks for blessings focuses our attention on the gifts rather than the giver. We tread closely to the sin of idolatry by focusing mere on things. But when the gifts point us to the Giver, we can properly give glory to Whom it is due. Psalm 100 encourages us to give thanks TO the Lord.
God is not good because he gives good things. He gives good things because he is good. Make sure everyday this week you say thank you to God for being who he is. Even if he never blesses us with another blessing, he remains worthy of our praise.
I hope you all have a GREAT Christmas season this year. But before you get that started, let’s spend the next four days.