But Thanks Be To God

Black Friday has long been a major day of sales for Christmas shopping.  But over the last several years, stores started opening earlier and earlier in the morning on Black Friday in order to attract more customers.  More recently, stores have started opening on Thanksgiving evening to get a head start on Black Friday.  As Christmas becomes more commercialized, it is easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas.  As the commercialization spreads earlier and earlier in the year, it can overtake Thanksgiving and cause us to forget the true meaning of Thanksgiving as well.  It seems that we are supposed to rush through being thankful to get back to accumulating more and more stuff.

So we should take the time to be thankful, both now at Thanksgiving as well as throughout the year.  We shouldn’t let commercialism and materialism consume our time that should be spent in giving thanks.

But at the same time, if we are giving thanks for what is most important, we should allow Christmas into Thanksgiving, as long as we remember the true meaning of Christmas in doing so.  Christmas is about far more than shopping, giving presents, and Christmas decorations, just as Thanksgiving is about far more than turkey, cranberry sauce, and football.  All those things can be enjoyable, and they aren’t necessarily bad in themselves.  But they can be good things that distract us from the best things, and that is when they become dangerous.  Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ, and Christ was born so that He could die and pay for our sins.  So as we think about giving thanks at Thanksgiving for what is most important to us, the greatest gift that God gave to us is the gift of salvation from the eternal punishment of sin through the death and resurrection of Christ.  That is something to be most thankful for, and that is where Christmas should be part of our Thanksgiving celebration.  We should be thankful to live in the country that we do and enjoy the freedoms that we have.  We should be thankful for the family and friends that God has given to us.  We should be thankful for the home and jobs that God has given to us.  But the greatest blessings that God gives are spiritual, and we should be most thankful for the greatest spiritual blessing of Christ.  As 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  We should thank God for the victory that He gives to us, and that victory comes through Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.  This year, let’s remember to give thanks for the greatest gift that God has given.

–Pastor Tim

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