November Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on all things we are thankful for, and as Christians; we have the greatest reason of all to be thankful – being saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. Our national holiday is certainly an event that has taken on a life of its own. It is an established tradition involving turkey, mashed potatoes, football, shopping, and a four- day weekend. (Which is fascinating since none of these things has anything to do with the original event that began the annual celebration on the fourth Thursday in November.) However, anytime a nation does anything in unison that involves families getting together and counting their blessings, it is a good thing. Thanks is the highest form of thought. However, the fact that the worst moment for an atheist is when he is thankful and suddenly realizes he has no one to be thankful to. Of all of God’s gifts, the gift of His son, Jesus Christ, is the greatest of all. Therefore we worship Him with a thankful heart. In the New Testament, we are repeatedly encouraged to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be part of our prayers. The scriptures give us many reasons to be thankful, but according to the Apostle Paul, the one that meets our greatest need says, “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!” Therefore God’s Word challenges us to “give thanks in everything” (1 Thessalonians 5: 18).
May God richly bless you this month,
Rev. Don English
December is the time of year we put away the garden hoses and winterize the lawn mower, because winter will soon be here. However, it also ushers in one of the most important holiday seasons of the year. A time of joy, a time of gift giving, a time of decorating yards and erecting Christmas trees. Family meals are carefully planned and gifts are secretly being wrapped. But we are also reminded of the greatest gift of all, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! He was to be born of a virgin whose name was Mary. Mary was favored above all women in being chosen as the mother of Jesus. She was chosen because she found favor with God. Her humble and godly life pleased God to such an extent that He chose her for this most important task. Mary’s blessing not only brought her great joy, but also much suffering and pain, for her son would be rejected and crucified. In this world God’s calling will always involve blessing and suffering, joy and sadness, successes and disappointments. However, as we prepare for the Christmas season with all the thoughts of joy and giving of gifts, we are reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. The announcement of the angels that a child was to be born, a savior of all mankind and that his name “shall be called Jesus.” This reveals God’s love to all the world, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.” We celebrate the birth of a savior, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords; the one who was born to bring hope and salvation to a lost and dying world. So this Christmas season, let us give thanks for the child that was born in a manger two thousand years ago, to bring peace, joy and hope into our lives.
Rev. Don English