Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations Psalm 100:4&5
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:7-8
Perhaps you noticed that on November 1st, immediately after Halloween, stores began to display Christmas themes. The instant transition from orange and black to red and green was as startling as it was swift. The holiday season this year will have even more economic urgency than most. Both the retailers and their lenders will be looking for holiday sales to bail them out. It will be easy to get caught up in the advertising campaigns that will soon be upon us. Your children will be targeted by many of these ads. Be sure to take some time to remind them of reasons for thanksgiving and joy that are more significant than seasonal. Joy and thankfulness should mark Christians throughout the year, not just during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It is the God in three persons that gives us reason for celebration and gratitude. The uncertainty brought about by the election and the tumbling economy may diminish the joy which belongs to our God. Parents, you cannot let this happen. Even if your earthly meals and celebrations must be smaller this year because of economic issues, your reason for true joy has not diminished in the slightest. In fact, your joy should be growing as you know grow in your appreciation of Psalm 100. God’s love does endure forever. His faithfulness does continue.
Even the celebration of Thanksgiving Day is shaped by economic concerns. Abraham Lincoln, in 1863, declared by proclamation that Thanksgiving Day would fall on the last Thursday in November. It remained on the last Thursday until 1939, when President Franklin Roosevelt decided that Thanksgiving should be celebrated a week early. This was because the last Thursday was also the last day of November that year.
At least part of his motivation was to provide more time for Christmas shopping by moving the day a week earlier. This decision by Roosevelt set off a furor that caused Congress to pass a law in 1941 declaring Thanksgiving to be observed on the fourth Thursday of November. Here is a link to the FDR Library online which details how this happened. You will even find some letters from citizens giving their concerns about moving the holiday.
Christians, thankfully, don’t need calendars to know when to celebrate joy and gratitude. Because of the awesome love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, you have cause to celebrate each day with joy. This year, especially if the turkey is a little smaller and the presents less costly, center on Christ more than ever. Luke tells us that life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. The ups and downs of the markets cannot diminish the true riches we have in Christ. We have had the mercy of God lavished upon us. Our reasons for praise and thanksgiving never cease. This world and its worries will pass away, but the love of our God endures forever. You can give your children the gift of seeing your joy in Christ overflow into daily life, even with all the tumultuous events of these days.
The world will be looking for hope in things that are destined to end. Christian, you have hope in the person of Christ, whose love and mercy will never end. As the holiday season and all of its accompanying pomp rushes upon you, let your children know where true joy comes from. Be ready to rejoice in true riches—blessings that will endure forever.