The Thanksgiving of a Christian

Written by Brandy Wallis

In case I haven’t had the opportunity to tell you yet, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Thanksgiving has always been a wonderful holiday celebration for me and my family. The occasion involves the gathering together of our loud family, spending all day in the kitchen telling stories, reminiscing, and laughing until our stomachs hurt, all the while trying to fix a meal fit for a king; and it leads up to turkey, dressing, pies, naps, and football.  
Thanksgiving is most special for those of us who are believers. Although it's a holiday grounded in American traditions, believers have another opportunity to stop and reflect on the goodness in our lives because of who our Savior, Jesus, is!  
The other day, I was reading over Colossians 3:12-15 and, although it’s not a typical reference to Thanksgiving, there was something about these scriptures that challenged my spirit. It was a nugget that reminded me of what my reflection should look like, not only to my family, but to everyone I encounter.  You see, I don’t know about you all, but I have some family members who aren’t believers. We don’t necessarily have the same beliefs, viewpoints, or personalities, and sometimes, that can lead to clashing. When those family members, who I love dearly, look at me, what do they see? Do I reflect characteristics that would lead them back to the foot of the cross? Do I reflect responses that make them wonder why I am acting in a loving and compassionate way? Or do my responses justify their thoughts of why Christians aren’t any different than the world?
Now, 2020 and 2021 brought about some of the most intriguing and challenging circumstances that our generations have ever had to navigate. A global pandemic accompanied by lockdowns and mandates, civil unrest, political divides, a culture that sways in its convictions as often as the wind blows…and the list goes on and on.  
I find it interesting that the word of God provides us, as believers, with a very specific outline for how to handle all of the situations we may face. If you take a look at verse 12 from Colossians 3, Paul starts off by reminding us that we have been chosen by God and, with that, we possess characteristics that are completely contrary to those of the world. Paul tells us to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving each other just as the Lord has forgiven us. I think we sometimes forget that when we walk in the active characteristics of who God has declared and designed us to be, there is a peace that not only surrounds our hearts, minds, and spirits, but also a peace that covers our families, homes, and every facet of our lives! I don’t know about you, but I can certainly use more peace in my life in the days ahead.
In verse 14, Paul implores us to put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  God is a God of unity! He desires that, as His children, we would walk in a spirit of unity. Is it always easy? No! But is it absolutely necessary? Yes!  After all, God has never asked us to do anything that He Himself hasn’t done first.  Unity brings about more than just resolutions to difficult situations or circumstances. It also ushers in a spirit of peace into our lives; and peace, in turn, brings about thankfulness in our hearts. Think about all of the people that Jesus had to make peace with even if we think some may not be deserving of it. Yet Jesus chose light over darkness and we should too.
Lastly, take a look at Paul’s wise words in verse 15 where he reminds us that the peace of Christ should rule in our hearts, that we are one body of believers,  and that we should be thankful. So, as you can see, unity brings about peace. Peace leads to an everlasting love. And that love leads to a kind of thankfulness that only believers can understand. The Bible tells us time and again about the depth of the love that our Father has for us. After all, our redemption is grounded in the kind of love that cost a Father his son. And for that, I am eternally thankful. What about you?

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1 Comment

John Stuart Keytack - November 22nd, 2021 at 7:38pm

Great message. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and all of our wonderful church family.