Sunday, December 1, 2013

Journeying From Thanksgiving to Christmas

       Thanksgiving 2013 recently passed and now of course the world is headed towards Christmas. To those not living in the United States or who are unfamiliar with American traditions, Thanksgiving is one of the country's biggest most celebrated holidays. Christmas of course is celebrated worldwide. In America Thanksgiving begins what much of the country refers to as the "holidays" where Christmas and a bit later New Years Day is celebrated. Within this period shopping, presents, Christmas plays, Santa Claus, reindeers, New Years resolutions, traditional church services, New Years Eve party plans, college bowl games, heated early season college and high school basketball tournaments, as well as the beginning of the end of the NFL season all begin to take their turns creating their own effects on most of our lives. And even some of us who do not involve ourselves in many of these end of year traditions and customs we usually either live with or are close to people who are head and toes deep within these holiday activities.
       Thanksgiving is a holiday made official in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln in order for the nation to give "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens". Most of what Americans know about Thanksgiving is the first Thanksgiving day celebrated by Pilgrims and Native Americans. The celebration occurred after the Pilgrims first harvest of the New World back in 1621. Unfortunately in the midst of the commercials, sales, food, school programs, and  all the media attention, the giving thanksgiving and praise to God part of the holiday has been almost entirely forgotten while turkey, cornbread, and stuffing receive much attention. The public and even many private schools keep their mouths shut tight regarding giving any reference to God for providing Lincoln the motivation for such a fascinating holiday while giving all the praise to the Puritans and Native Americans. Not only do both young and old American citizens miss out on experiencing the joy in giving thanks to God for all He has provided they are also  poorly educated and misled on the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
       Now the United States travels along with the rest of the world toward the Christmas holiday which as some Christians know very well is taught incorrectly in the world as a holiday celebrating Santa Claus, his reindeers, Christmas trees, and giving presents. Yes the three kings gave presents to baby Jesus when they visited Him but the Bible makes no mentioning of a Santa Claus nor did the disciples or early Christians erect trees within their homes for the purpose of planting gifts. Yet this is what we hear from the media world as well as from our government, the world's atheist viewpoint of Christmas minus the Christ. So as the world customarily does, they will repeatedly say "Happy Holidays" in order to intentionally leave Christ out of Christmas. "Happy Holidays" for much of society serves as a selfish way of celebrating Christ's birthday without having to give God any praise or any self sacrifice other than to simply comfort ourselves and those around us. So much of our country and much of the world, goes out shopping, buying, feasting while spinning further into debt. Many of us our fattening ourselves silly, drunkening our minds and spirits, while some drive themselves deep into sadness, depression as they return back to jobs and a way of life many are too proud to admit that they really don't enjoy.
       Why does this happen? Why are so many people sad during this journey from Thanksgiving to Christmas during what is suppose to be the happiest time of the year? Why do so many people feel depressed during the time where many workers have or take time of from work to be around loved ones? Because most of America, the world is celebrating the wrong thing with the wrong purpose.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever" 1 John 2:15–17.
       America who do we love more? Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, turkeys, Pilgrims, Native Americans with Puritans eating corn, opening presents, end of the year parties, countdowns,? Where are our priorities? What would Jesus say if He was hanging out with you on New Years eve? Time is coming world. Oh time is coming. He is coming and He is coming soon. While spending time watching "Frosty the Snowman" and singing "Jingle Bells", fellow Christians, girls, boys, men, women who simply love the sound of Jesus, lets speak up. Speak up for Christ. Tell your friends, neighbors, brothers, sisters, parents, the real meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas. And most importantly embrace Christ within our hearts. After all we are giving thanks to Him as well as celebrating His birth.