Time to Decorate?
November 16, 2019, 12:00 PM

It is the middle of November and it seems that we are, once again, stuck in division. The division this time is between those that decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving and those that wait till after Thanksgiving to decorate. It is funny that we have forgotten that a lot of this is made possible by technology and our ability to have artificial Christmas trees. Anyways, I wonder why it matters what camp we are in and especially why it matters enough to post opposing views on social media?

Psalm 100 Enter his gates with thanks; enter his court yards with praise! Thank him! Bless his name!

Sounds like a call for us to biblically be aware of Grace as we go about our lives. Did you know only ten countries in the world have a thanksgiving kind of celebration? I am thankful for this time we call attention to offering thanks, but should we not be thankful all the time? It would be sad if we only celebrated being thankful for one day. It is my hope and prayer that we are thankful all the time for the many blessings God has gracefully given to us.

Luke 2:16-20 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The Christmas story tells us that the Shepherds went in a hurry to find Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus. They did not plan and decorate for months in advance. They did not keep the information to themselves but shared with others the good news of the birth of our Savior, the one who came to free us from debt and sin. Why would be not celebrate this all year round?

The last verse in the Luke text says that the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. So the Shepherds were thankful and testified to the birth of our Savoir and it changed how they lived a life of abundance:

Last week I attended one night of The Roy & Joyce Cope Wyatt Lecture Series at Central Baptist Church in Bearden. The guest speaker was Diana Butler Bass and she was speaking about Gratitude her equation for Gratitude was Awareness of Grace + Freedom from Debt = Living in Abundance.

Looks to me that both thankfulness and searching for our Savior are important to this equation of abundance? It does not say if they are to equal parts or not but they are both needed.

Some years it may seem we are more able to be thankful than others and some years it may seem like we struggle to see our Savior in the mists of the messiness in the world. Back to the argument what comes first Thanksgiving or Christmas? Both are needed and important as they point to the real reason for both which is living in abundance with God. It reminds me of our UMC communion liturgy: Leader - Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. People - It is right to give our thanks and praise. The answer is not one or the other but do we do them with thanks and praise for what God has done for us.

Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas, may your holiday season be overrun with abundance in living by the power of the Holy Spirit through the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.