Giving thanks shouldn’t just be reserved for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Glenn T. Rosenbaum
Have you ever set off fireworks to celebrate Valentine’s Day? When was the last time you ordered a green beer on Columbus Day? How often do you set up your crèche for Easter Sunday or sing “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” on Dec. 25? Such actions would be like putting a square peg into a round hole. Most holidays have specific traditions connected to them that seem odd if used with a different celebration.
THANKFULNESS ON ALL HOLIDAYS
What sets Thanksgiving apart from the others? While there are certain traditions associated with the holiday—turkey, football, family, to name a few—the main reason for the day is to give thanks. It’s not a holiday like others that celebrate some event. The holiday is set aside to give thanks. But isn’t that also an important component for all the other holidays not named Thanksgiving?
Martin Luther King Jr. Day reminds us to give thanks for the work of the civil rights leader who helped to root out prejudice and promote equal rights among the races. Memorial Day encourages us to give thanks for those who served our country and died to establish and maintain our nation and our freedoms. Labor Day urges us to give thanks for those who diligently work to keep our country moving forward. Giving thanks is a top priority at Christmas when we celebrate Jesus coming to earth to be “God with us.” Easter is no different. We pause on Easter to rejoice over our Savior’s resurrection from the dead, after he faced and defeated death and our enemy Satan.
The Thanksgiving holiday and its purpose—to give thanks—seems to be the one that can’t really be limited to one day or one event. Perhaps the apostle Paul’s words to the Thessalonians helps us remember that important thought. Centered among 17 verses of final instructions, Paul writes by God’s inspiration, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
THANKFULNESS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES
As people who face daily battles against our sinful self, the wicked world, and sinister Satan, we are not always successful in accomplishing God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. Our pride leads us to give thanks to ourselves. Our selfishness prompts us to complain about everything—including God—when we don’t get what we want. Our ignorance deftly denies any thankfulness coming from our mouths or hands.
As people of God, redeemed, restored, forgiven, we strive to complete God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. We seek to honor God for his abundant mercy and amazing grace shown to us by Jesus’ work of salvation. We love to give him thanks for freeing us from the curse of our pride, selfishness, and ignorance because of Jesus’ labor of love for us.
If our nation is attacked even on Independence Day, give thanks that God promises to rescue us from every evil (2 Timothy 4:18). When a lackluster economy forces unemployment just before Christmas and reduces the number of family gifts under the tree, give thanks that God sent Jesus as the only necessary Christmas present (Galatians 4:4,5). When your Christian loved one dies on Easter morning, give thanks that Jesus won the victory over death and rose from the dead to welcome all who believe in him home to heaven (John 14:19).
Give thanks in all circumstances! Give thanks on all holidays! Let your Thanksgiving be year-round. This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Glenn Rosenbaum is pastor at Grace, St. Joseph, Michigan.
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Author: Glenn T. Rosenbaum
Volume 101, Number 11
Issue: November 2014
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