Monday, November 23, 2009

Take Time to be Thankful

I often get invitations on Facebook to join advocacy groups such as “Keep Christ in Christmas.” This year I have seriously considered setting up on that advocates “Let’s Not Start the Christmas Season until the Day after Thanksgiving.”

There are some, including folks in my own family, who start putting up decorations the second week in November. Some have even already bought all of their presents! (Yes, it is hard to live with people like that.)

I am sure that their efforts are driven by a love for the season (as well as personal industriousness), but I cannot say the same for the stores that start pushing Christmas decorations and gifts on Labor Day. I cannot believe that their enthusiasm is driven by good feelings about the “reason for the season.”

There are two primary reasons that I will hold off on my decorations, Christmas music, and holiday observance until after Thanksgiving. First, I love Thanksgiving. I know that some consider this holiday a capitulation to “civil religion,” but I enjoy the opportunity to stop and be thankful for the blessings of the past year. Our worship service this past Sunday was a good reminder of how God has blessed us and of God’s continuing presence with us every day—certainly something for which to be thankful.

Second, this coming Sunday, the first after Thanksgiving, is the first Sunday of Advent. I have come to appreciate the rhythms of this part of the liturgical year. We are reminded of the meaning of hope, love, joy, and peace for Christians around the world. We are prepared for the coming of Messiah. By reading the Common Lectionary texts for the season, we join millions around the world in meditating on these blessings.

I’m not going to start that Facebook group, but I am planning to enjoy Thanksgiving before turning my attention to the coming of the One who give me reason to be thankful.

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