As a lover of the Christmas season, I am thrilled that Thanksgiving is tomorrow and have been, not so patiently, waiting since we took the decorations down in January. I admit, Christmas music has been on my shuffle occasionally since the first day of fall. However, not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the glorious holiday season. For some it is just too stressful, others are reminded of painful memories and the reasons go on. Working on homework the other day, a commercial came on and I was saddened to hear their holiday marketing strategy…thanksgetting. Black Friday has crept into our day of Thanksgiving and stolen the spirit of the season. A day and time meant for being grateful for what we have and the blessings in our lives has been tainted by a need for more. The Pilgrims were thankful to be alive and have food to eat in a country of freedom. The Christmas season does not start for many until the day after Thanksgiving, but the spirit and message should be remembered year round. Jesus is the greatest gift the world has ever received…light for the dark. Another commercial on TV proclaimed that they would be closed on Thanksgiving because we should be focusing on what is important, which is our families.
If anyone has even barely been listening to any world news, then they know terrible things are happening across the globe. The attacks on Paris left the world in shock, terror, and mourning. How did this evil happen? We were reminded of our gut-wrenching emotions at the time of the 9/11 attacks. New realizations may have understood about the status of Syria and the evil that is terrorism. Subsequently, places like DC and New York, as well as, additional places in Europe have been threatened. One of my friends asked me last Monday, if I would be avoiding DC for a while and I answered with a no and have been there multiple times since. Obviously the threats should not be taken lightly and people should be aware of their surrounding, but we cannot allow our lives to be dictated by fear because then evil is winning. In no way do I want to argue politics, but I do want to say that “perfect love casts out all fear” and “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” (1 John 4:18 and John 1:5). Fear and dark cannot overcome love and light. Will bad things continue to happen? Yes, because the devil will try to use any opportunity and every strategy to win souls into his darkness. But he cannot win eternally and we have the authority now to remind of that. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Prayer is a powerful weapon and has conquered armies before. Our God is the same God today as He was when Joshua overcame the Amalekites and when the Ninevites changed their ways.
During this holiday season may we not become overwhelmed and lose focus of what matters. Let us give thanks for the love and hope that we have despite evil. May we pray for Paris and Syria and the world and focus on giving not getting.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”