Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful He Came

I wrote the following article for this week's Message page in Word&Way:

My Thanksgiving will probably be very much like many of yours. Our sons and their wives and our grandchildren are coming home and our family will be together. My wife’s parents always spend Thanksgiving with us. We have a great time visiting with each other and catching up. Like many we will have too much good food, but we enjoy the fellowship. We will talk and laugh and watch some football.

We also give thanks. At our Thanksgiving meal time we invite each family member present to share one thing for which they are especially grateful. It is always interesting that no one normally mentions any "things." Most of the family expresses thanks for people, family members, and the blessing of being together. In reality, when we get serious, it is our relationships and the time we have together that we value the most.

This week also leads up to the first Sunday of Advent and the celebration of the coming of our Savior. I am reminded that our most important relationship is Christ. He is the one who enables us to put our lives in perspective. He is the one who forgives our sin and gives us hope for the future. Most of all we are grateful for our Savior.

If your house is like ours, Thanksgiving launches our preparation for Christmas. We normally begin our decorating for Christmas in the days following Thanksgiving. It some ways it is very appropriate to begin our preparation for the celebration of His coming at Thanksgiving. The gift of our Savior is our primary reason for giving thanks.

The Christmas season is hectic for many people. It is important as we move into the season to remind each other about the significance and purpose of Advent. It is a time of preparation. It is a time for reflection as we examine our lives and prepare to allow Him to "re-decorate" our lives according to His plan.

It is a time not to be overcome with the commercial nature of the secular celebration of Christmas, but a time to rediscover the opportunity to give. In a real sense we are never more like God than when we give to those in need. A number of years ago my brothers and sisters decided to end our tradition of drawing names and exchanging gifts. Instead we contribute funds and allow one member of our family to take the lead in providing for a family in need at Christmas. Many families help their churches do similar things each year.

Maybe there is no better way to give thanks for God’s gifts than to share these gifts with someone in need. As we gather to give thanks and move toward the Advent celebration, I am thankful he came! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Each day this month Katarina, Ben and I have been talking about what we are thankful for. Ben's art project from preschool lists four things he told his teachers he was thankful for: candy, toys, dad and mom. Hopefully, he is not thankful in that order. One night a week or so ago the children must have listed 75 things each that they were thankful for. Finally, Ben looked at me and said, "Mom, I am thankful most of all for..." He paused and in my mind I was thinking that he was going to say something along the lines of candy or toys, but instead, Ben said, "love." And the greatest of these is love. I have found that the children are often the wise ones teaching me many, many lessons. Blessings to you, see you soon! E!