I knew Christmas was coming: All the glitzy advertisements on TV began in early November (was it the earliest yet? I’m thinking it was.) All of the sales, all the feel-good words, all the happy people carrying packages home to put under the Christmas tree – never mind that the Christmas tress isn’t up yet! It’s just amazing how the world keeps spinning faster and faster, and as we age (yes, young folks, even you) we want things to slow down. And the only way to do that is to take control of our lives, take control of our time, and make space for thanks-giving!
The Pilgrims no doubt blessed what food they had during those first harsh winters. And our nation’s forefathers prayed prayers of thanks to God, giving God the praise and glory for the founding of this great nation. Giving thanks, that’s what life should be all about, because we have not created the lives we have by ourselves. Our Creator God, parents, loved ones, family and friends have all contributed to who we are, so to them should go our thanks for creating, loving and supporting us. And what better time of the year to do this than now, when we should pause and share with others in this national time of Thanksgiving.
May each and every one of us find some quiet time to give thanks to God for our blessings, whatever they may be. Pause and consider what you are thankful for, then close your eyes and bow your head and thank God for the blessings in your life. These quiet moments will give you peace.
And then, move into what I want to call “Thanks-Christmas!” Try to skip “Black Friday” and move your focus from the peace of Thanksgiving to the spiritual time of preparation which, on the Christian calendar, is four weeks of Advent, a time of preparing for the birth of the Christ Child. If you can continue the inward calming of your spirit throughout Advent, considering the hope and peace and love and joy that the Christ Child offers, you’ll experience “Thanks-Christmas,” a five-week period of peace in your life. And who doesn’t want or need that? Just think, while the world is racing at a faster and faster pace, your calm spirit is resting in peace. (Actually, resting in the presence of God.) You see, that’s what he wants for you. He knows this life is difficult, and he invites you to times of peace with Him. He invites you to times like this, what I want to call Thanks-Christmas.
So, Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! And “Thanks-Christmas” to all, always.
PS If you don’t attend church regularly, please find one and there find the “Thanks-Christmas” I’m talking about.
Rick Carpenter is the pastor at the United Methodist Church in Dolores and First United Methodist Church in Dove Creek.