I love Christmas time. When I say I love it, I mean I will spend sun up to sun down to hang lights, setup the tree, and decorate the house. I love Christmas!
But before I go on to Christmas, Thanksgiving needs a moment. In fact, I think Thanksgiving better expresses the heart of Christmas time than the celebration of Christmas. Thanksgiving is the truly important response to God. Christmas is the act of God that inaugurated a new era, but Thanksgiving reflects the incredible power of God personally formed in each person. So before Black Friday distracts us from the thanks we owe to God, I thought I might share three reasons for Thanksgiving:
- Giving thanks is a daily task so having one day to focus on and celebrate the acts of God is fitting. Christian people should be experts at Thanksgiving. Whenever we gather to eat, thanks should flow from us. In fact, it seems the volume of thanks flowing from us should be proportionate to the volume of food flowing into us. Giving thanks is a submissive act toward God. It keeps us in our place. It reminds us that all we have comes not from our labor but from our God.
- Giving thanks pushes our minds toward God. In fact, Black Friday robs joy from Thanksgiving. It’s push into Thanksgiving Day evening robs us of focus on God’s goodness. The robbery is subtle, like any dark plan would be. We think getting that “deal” is a positive aspect of our Christmas giving. By truncating our Thanksgiving, we reassert our dominance in our own lives. Whereas thanks pushes our minds toward God, buying bargains competitively against others is all about serving ourselves.
- Giving thanks restrains our compulsiveness. Like all things in life, spending is compulsive and giving thanks is a discipline. We should understand something about Black Friday – it aids our compulsiveness while breaking down our discipline. Thanks disciplines us to focus on the truly important matters of God’s work. The great gift of life is a great reason to celebrate. Sadly, many of us use Thanksgiving as the kickoff to compulsive self-gratification rather than self-disciplined pursuit of God.