Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Battle Cry of Thanksgiving

We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks...
 Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace.
-Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

We are officially one week out from Thanksgiving Day and I am officially unprepared.

Other years I might have had my act together. Other years I would have the majority of my Christmas gifts bought, wrapped, and ready to send along with my father-in-law to take to the other siblings' family Christmas celebrations.

Not this year.

Moving and health have slowed me down to notice a battle cry muffled under the Christmas sales, stuffing ingredients, and travel plans.

The battle cry of Thanksgiving.

First, let me assure you I have no problem with "premature" Christmas decorations and music. I would have no problem if those remained present throughout the year, so why should I mind if they cropped up pre-November? I also take no issue with early gift buying. You have your shopping done? I applaud you.

But under all the Pilgrim and Native American decorations, Thanksgiving has gradually become less a time to thank God for all of our circumstances, and more a time to prepare the perfect circumstances in which to be thankful. Because when things work out, that's really the time to be thankful.

History tells us the greatest believers of all time were set apart by their thankfulness to God for His mercy, His salvation, His Son. Just take a quick survey of all the times Jesus thanked God and you will see the tie between faith in a good, all-powerful Father God and thankfulness to Him.

Thankful living is a testimony to a heart that is satisfied in its Lord.

And since we are all quite aware that satan is a copycat liar, the best way to thwart the testimony of our thankful hearts is to parcel out a cheap, plastic, canned version of the same. A version of thanksgiving that says, "Things are going pretty well. I can be thankful for that." A version that draws thanksgiving from the perishable circumstances without, instead of the imperishable truth within.

Because thanksgiving that stems from outside circumstances alone is a thanksgiving that will be burned with the chaff.

Thanksgiving that stems from the Father who has adopted us into His family as His children, the Son who gave Himself completely so we His enemies could be brought into relationship with Him, the Spirit who dwells within and creates, sustains, and strengthens faith within us, that is the only Thanksgiving that will last.

So this year, I pray that we enjoy Thanksgiving Day- parades, football, food, family. But more importantly, let Thanksgiving Day wake us up, church. Let it not be the end of a chaotic year. Let it not become "the day before Black Friday".

Let it be a resounding battle cry of God's people.

A cry that tells the world that there is joy around us and in us because of Christ alone.

That all the sin and death and destruction around us will not extinguish our thankfulness to the living God because in Jesus Christ those very evils are brought under the power of the Father to bring about a greater good we could never hope to achieve without Him.

A cry that says we will not set ourselves up for destruction by being distracted by imitation joy that can be destroyed in moment.

A cry that says, "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man that takes refuge in Him." (Psalm 34:8)

A cry that says we belong to a generous Father who lavished upon us the very life and death and resurrection of His only Son. And that because of that we know He will not withhold what we need.

Let this be our "fight song". What a mighty army is built on the hearts of God's thankful people. May God bless your day of battle this year. Love you all.