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Put focus on giving thanks
Pastor's corner
pastor corner

Halloween is next week. And beginning the day after that, the Christmas rush is on. Oh, I know it’s too early. We ought to wait until the first week of December. But we have to get ahead and stay ahead of the crowd. So off we go.

I recall a conversation I had with my mother one July years ago. "I finished my Christmas shopping today," she happily declared. "You did what?" I asked. She repeated, "I finished my Christmas shopping today."

Keep in mind that she had her husband (my dad), two children and their spouses and five grandchildren for whom to shop. And she was done. No worries about Black Friday. She had found the deals, and had even wrapped her gifts and placed them in a closet.

Meekly I said, "But you didn’t even ask me what I wanted." She quickly replied, "You’ll like it." I’m still not sure if that was a promise or a threat. But I didn’t argue. She was so proud of herself.

I like to do my Christmas shopping early myself. But by early I mean the first week or so in December. I do not fight the crowds the day after Thanksgiving. But I am not going to be in the mall on Christmas Eve either.

Well, there is a point to my tale. What are we supposed to do between now and the 1st of December? Every store you enter for the next two months will have its Christmas displays out front. It won’t be long before the Yuletide music is playing. I know many will complain.

But here is my plan: No whining. No griping. No! Until December I am going to allow every Christmas decoration I see be a reminder to me to give thanks. You see, I love Christmas, but I think that Thanksgiving is a holiday that ought to characterize the true follower of Jesus. Paul wrote, "In everything give thanks." And I want to be that kind of believer.

Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes I hurt. But through it all I have learned that God is good, and he has done good things for me. And so I will give thanks. It may be brief prayer, "Thank you, God." Or it may be a catalogue of his good actions, "Count your many blessings."

But no matter the case, I’m going to give thanks. It’s always good for the soul. Could I encourage you to do the same?

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