Dear Family and Friends of FPC BG,
It’s not going to be a normal Thanksgiving. It’s not going to be a normal Christmas. We have been encouraged by the epidemiologists and our governor to “stay safe and stay at home.” We’ve been encouraged NOT to travel to see loved ones, to gather as families do. It is not going to be the same as years past. And that breaks my heart.
Our family Thanksgiving traditions have been full of football, food, basketball, ultimate frisbee, real feasts…and did I mention food? We would usually travel to my brother’s or sister’s on Wednesday, or even Tuesday if we could get away, and take a break from work and soak up family. By the end of the festivities I would be stuffed with food, sore from playing sports, but always filled with joy and contentment. Ann Marie, the boys and I would usually have to leave Saturday to be sure we were back in the pulpit on Sunday. But Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday.
But this year, we are staying home and the boys aren’t traveling either. So, what can I do to preserve the joy and contentment I usually find at Thanksgiving? What can I do to still take a break from work and celebrate everything I am thankful for? Is Thanksgiving just overstuffing ourselves with the turkey feast? Or is there something deeper, more basic to giving thanks?
Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I am thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy.” (Phil 1:3-4) And he writes this, listen carefully, he writes this from prison. Yes, he gives thanks in his prayers while he is in prison. He sees beyond his current station in life and gives thanks. His prayers are ones of thanksgiving. Can we do the same?
Take time, many of us have more time now than ever before due to the pandemic. Take time to just sit and think of all the many blessings that have come your way. Write them down if you’d like or just remember the good friends, the good times, the safe places, the entertaining moments, the gifts, the pleasures of life. Give thanks to God who provides all. Then share your thanks. That just might be a blessed Thanksgiving.
And what about Christmas? Do the same. Take time, this precious time we do have and ponder the birth of the Christ Child, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Savior. Linus said it well in Charlie Brown’s Christmas as he recited Luke 2, “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.”
What do our Christmas traditions have to do with celebrating Emmanuel, God with us? Take time to think of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension. What do those world changing, life changing events have to do with our Christmas traditions?
During the darkest of times, Winter Solstice, Christmas comes with Light! Yes, there may be darkness all around, but a little baby is born and his name will be Jesus. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.
Blessings to you in Christ,