I was recently reading Facebook posts and Twitter remarks regarding what people are thankful for and the greatest gifts they have received during the Christmas season. It’s interesting to see how for some people it is something that another person takes for granted as being so precious to them. For other people something extravagant is considered a “token” gift. Likewise a similar pattern can be found within the “what I’m thankful for” writings and revelations. It ranges from the most obvious, “I’m thankful for my health”…..”I’m thankful for my spouse”…..”I’m grateful for my children”, to the most befuddling.
“I’m thankful for my dog who died last year” — Um, are you thankful he’s dead or that he lived?….”I’m thankful my daughter is engaged” — Cause her marriage will get her out of your house?…..
”I’m grateful for the protection of squirrels in Indonesia,” — Just threw that one out there.
What I am noticing is that people seem to be in one of two conditions. So downhearted or down and out or feeling hopeless and limited that they are thankful for anything or they have so many things, so many items, so many blessings, that they are stretching to come up with something else to be thankful for.
As we sit midway through this Christmas season at this point, I am reminded of the scripture lesson from 1 Thessalonians 5 16 “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
It compels me to think about being thankful at all times. Rejoicing in all things. A challenge almost to look at what I have and be thankful; to look at what I don’t have and be thankful. To look at what I have and rejoice; to look at what I don’t have and rejoice.
Maybe this Christmas season you will get exactly what you ask for. Maybe you will get nothing you asked for. But in either case, my encouragement to you is this: Be thankful you have received what you need and rejoice that your needs are met according to God’s will.
Philippians 4:19 says “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
What a powerful reminder that if we abide in Christ, our God will meet the needs in our lives. Whether we are rich or poor, young or old, living in a mansion or living on the streets, God’s gift of salvation, hope and restoration through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ, has made the way for us to have eternal life and to have our every need met here in our earthly lives. As Christmas approaches, we should look at what we have and be thankful; look at what we don’t have and be thankful. Because I can assure you that if we are abiding in Christ, whatever it is we have or don’t have is exactly what we need.
REV. BARRY VASSAR is pastor at Fitzgerald Memorial Baptist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.