Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thanksgiving (before the post-Halloween shift to Christmas)

I know, Thanksgiving is still almost a month off, but as Halloween is only a few days away, we will immediately shift in stores, sales, advertisements, and music to Christmas. I am thankful that Thanksgiving is not highly commercialized, but we all tend to shift gears with the changing of displays in Walmart (or higher end stores if you so desire), and Thanksgiving tends to get skipped.

I was given an advantage yesterday in the Thanksgiving season. I received a call inviting me to speak at the local Bethany Fellowship Thanksgiving's Eve (actually Thanksgiving's Eve's Eve) Service in Jamestown. So I began to think about preparing a message on giving thanks.

So often we approach Thanksgiving with a "let's reflect on what I'm thankful for" attitude. A home, a job, our families, our church, our friends, etc. The more honest kids come up with the list of toys, games, and yummy treats. When we have a list like that, it doesn't necessarily make us 'thankful', because who wouldn't be thankful for something that brings them immediate pleasure? Other times, people will practice thanksgiving by looking at the "it could be worse" side of things. Well, I lost my job, but at least I still have "xxxxxxx". What happens when that thing you cling to is lost?

David often gave thanks in the Psalms. He gave thanks in difficulty. Sometimes after difficulty was resolved, but often in the difficulty itself. Why? Because he knew his God.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
- Psalm 95:2-3

God's Word tells us to give thanks in everything. I can choose to be thankful in lean times because Jehovah Jireh - The Lord provides. I can be thankful in stressful times because Jehovah Shalom - The Lord is my peace. I can be thankful when men revile and persecute me because Jehovah Nissi - The Lord is my banner. I can choose to be thankful in times that make me feel weak and insignificant because the Lord is my strength!

We had a series of years where our vacations brought car trouble. Flat tires, wheel bearing, overheating, . . . In those years God taught me that he was good when things went wrong. People often pray for no mechanical troubles while traveling, but I have learned that Jehovah Jireh applies to providing what we need even when far from home and away from familiar means.

Rather than ask what you are thankful for this year. What will you be thankful for this year? I've been convicted in the area of my schedule, so I plan to be thankful in interruptions because Jehovah-Palm Pilot, The Lord is my Scheduler.