It is here. The blur. The blitzkrieg. The onslaught of shopping, parties, shopping, family gatherings, shopping, lights, eating, eating, and more eating, and then some more shopping. The two seasons that used to be separated by eons for anxiously waiting children, now consume my adult experience, overlapping each other, turning the next 5 weeks into a tornado of activity. How are we not consumed by this marketing disease sucking the life out of our finances? How do we protect ourselves from the schedule eating parasite that this season has become? We have to stop.
Please allow me a moment to put these two holiday seasons Biblically into perspective, hopefully allowing us to lead ourselves and our families through Thanksgiving and Christmas with glad hearts exalting a faithful, loving God.
Because God is so in love with humanity He gives us instruction through His Word in order to guide us into the best life so that we might experience the heights of Joy and bring glory to Him at the same time. The apostle Paul tells the Christians of Thessalonica to, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18) The Bible is clear about what we should give thanks for: God’s goodness and His enduring love. The Psalmist combines these two holy attributes together 5 times (Psalm 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 29; 136:1). In the traditional hymn “Count Your Blessings,” we are encouraged to count our blessings one by one. We usually name the familial blessings first, then the material, then the national, maybe followed by the physical. These are never named in scripture, God’s Word guides us to His attributes as the primary focus of our thanksgiving.
He is good. Unblemished goodness is His nature. That means there is no injustice, or iniquity, or unrighteousness in anything that the sovereign God does. It also means that unless we become as good as He is we aren’t able to have a relationship with Him. That spells trouble, because “none of us are good enough”. (Romans 3:10-12)
His love is enduring. That means God’s love has no end, it cannot run out on those whom He is calling and saving. But love cannot trump His demand for goodness on its own, there must be an object placed between us and God to absorb His wrath towards sin, so that His love can be received.
In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (Luke 2:1) A young carpenter named Joseph, along with a promised and pregnant young woman named Mary, set out for his hometown of Bethlehem. There in a shelter more accustomed to cows than kings, the Savior of the World was born.
That is the perspective that carries us, the unrighteous and worthless have been redeemed, because Jesus was born and stood in our place 33 years later receiving the just punishment for my sin and yours.
And so with glad hearts we exalt God and celebrate Thanksmas!