Reasons for Being Thankful

November 26, 2019

Reasons For Being Thankful

God tells us to be thankful. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Again in Colossians 3:15 we read, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

There is no one in such dire circumstances who can’t, with a little thought, find some things to be thankful for. Granted, it’s much easier to be thankful if we aren’t burdened down with difficult circumstances, but even in those circumstances there are still reasons for being thankful.

The First Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims set an example for us when they celebrated the first Thanksgiving. The exact date when they celebrated the first Thanksgiving isn’t known, but we do know that it was either September, October, or November of 1621. The Mayflower landed at Cape Cod on November 11th of 1620. Perhaps the first Thanksgiving was near that date so they could celebrate the first anniversary of their residence on the shores of the American continent.

If they had wanted to, they could have found many things to lament about. Half of them didn’t survive the first winter. Many died of starvation or sicknesses. They suffered the cold of winter in impromptu shelters that they called their homes.

The native Americans had mercy on them and shared with them some of the food they had stored for the winter. They also taught them how to hunt and fish. During the summer months they taught them how to plant and cultivate corn. They enjoyed a plentiful harvest and looked forward to the second winter with an abundance of food. No doubt they had found time to build better homes to live in. They had made warmer clothes from deer skins.

That first Thanksgiving there were 50 pilgrims that gathered around the tables. They invited the Indians to join them in the celebration. There were 90 of them that participated. The feast lasted for three days. They gave thanks to God for his goodness to them. God had truly been good to them. They could have all died the previous winter. The Indians could have risen up against them and driven them out. Instead they came to their rescue. God had sent the rain and given them a bountiful harvest. It took them three days to think of all the reasons why they should be thankful.

It is heartbreaking to see how our three major holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are now little more than secular holidays. All three have a spiritual significance that has almost been completely forgotten.

When I was a boy we always celebrated Thanksgiving with a big meal. My parents often raised a few turkeys. When they did, one had to sacrifice his life in order to grace our table for Thanksgiving dinner. Some times relatives gathered around the table with us. Sometimes we gathered at their table. Sometimes it was just our family. I don’t remember ever hearing anyone say “We have a lot for which to thank God.” They never even said, “We have a lot for which to be thankful.”

Imagine the effort it took for the pilgrims to prepare for that first Thanksgiving. Some of the men had gone hunting for meat. They brought back turkeys and deer. The day before the first meal they butchered the turkeys and deer and cut the meat into portions to be put on the grills. If some wanted to make cornbread they had to shell the corn off the cobs and grind it with a mortar. Each morning of the three day celebration they started early. Fifteen or twenty fires had to be started and grills placed over them. There were fifty pilgrims present. That means there may have been 15 or 20 women who took the responsibility of cooking. They put the meat on the grills. Then they filled the kettles with water and vegetables and carried them to one of the fires. Some went back and forth feeding the fires. Others turned over the meat every so often. Some stirred the contents in the kettles. It was a lot of work, but they did it to thank God for his bounty.

Today, when women get ready to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, they don’t make near as many sacrifices. They go to the grocery store and fill a shopping cart with food already prepared. They may get a frozen turkey. All they have to do is thaw it out and put in the oven of a gas or electric stove. They may have bought frozen vegetables that they put in the microwave oven. They can buy pre-made frozen pies. One woman can prepare a meal for 10 or 15 people. Did I hear you say, “I can’t think of much for which to be thankful?” Please, put on your thinking cap!

Let’s make Thanksgiving time an occasion for praising the Lord. As you approach the clerk at the check out counter say to him or her, “I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. I sure have a lot to thank God for. I’m sure you do too. Most of all, I thank God for my salvation.” Let it be known that Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful.


Reasons For Celebrating Christmas

We celebrate because we are happy about something. Christmas has a long history of being celebrated because people are happy about the birth of Christ. It is celebrated because of the fact that Jesus Christ made his appearance in this world.

There is abundant reason to be merry when we reflect on what the Bible says about the coming of Christ to this world. Let’s look at some of the exciting events that took place at the coming of Christ.

If we only knew the sacrifice Christ made to come to this earth, we would be forever grateful to him. We can’t comprehend the glory he left behind when he came here. Philippians 2:6-8 says, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” He humbled himself and made himself of no reputation. Why did he do that? He didn’t have to. Being in the form of God, he was under no obligation. God is sovereign. He doesn’t have to answer to anyone.

He was made in the likeness of men. That includes human birth and childhood. Luke 2:7 tells us that he was born in a barn. There are mysteries and miracles surrounding the birth of Christ. For example, was he conscience of where he was during the time he was in the womb? He had to learn to walk and talk like all little ones do. He was born of a virgin. That was a miracle. He voluntarily gave up some of his divine attributes during the time he was in a human body. Those are questions that have occupied the minds of theologians for centuries. He came, knowing full well that while he was here he would be ridiculed, rejected, and crucified. Yes Philippians 2:9 says that when he went back to heaven he was highly exalted, but what a price he paid!

His birth was announced to a group of shepherds by an angel. His message to them was “Fear not; for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:9). In Matthew we read that wise men made a long journey in search of him and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Were they fools for doing that, or are we fools if we don’t likewise worship him?

We have abundant reason to celebrate when we reflect on the awful price Christ paid to come to this miserable world and spend 33 years among men. We have even more reason to celebrate if we have been redeemed as Galatians 3:13 says, “from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” John 10:10 says that he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. And even more, because he came we have a glorious future if we are among the redeemed. I John 5:11-12 says “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

There are some people who don’t celebrate Christmas. Among their reasons for not doing so are that there is good reason to think that Christ wasn’t born on the 25th of December. Also they point to the fact that Christmas is too commercialized and is often taken as an excuse for living in debauchery. They are right about that, but an event that has the significance that the birth of Christ has, deserves to be celebrated. Since no one knows the day of Christ’s birth, why not leave it on the 25th of December rather than go against tradition? There are many ways to celebrate Christmas with dignity rather than debauchery.

Most people we know will celebrate Christmas, but if we were to ask them why they celebrate Christmas many would say, “I don’t know. I guess it’s because it’s Christmas.” Be among those who celebrate Christmas because “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


The Pagan Side Of Easter

October 25, 2015

                                The Pagan Side Of Easter

This article isn’t going to tell you not to celebrate Easter. You do need to be informed, however, about its origin so; you can celebrate the day with dignity.  After you are made aware of its pagan origin you may decide not to celebrate it at all.  If so, you would be within your rights.  You wouldn’t be alone.  Down through the centuries some Christians who take seriously the teaching of the Bible have chosen not to celebrate Easter.

The early church didn’t celebrate Easter.  It wasn’t until the second century A.D. that Christians started celebrating Easter.  The Catholic Church adapted the pagan feast and made it a “Christian” holiday.

The name of the holiday originates from the name of the pagan mother goddess.  Her name was Eastre. Babylonian tradition says that a great egg fell from the sky and fell into the Euphrates river.  The mother goddess  hatched from the egg.  She was associated with Nimrod and the tower of Babel.  In the month of April a feast was celebrated in her honor.

The Spanish speaking world might feel a little more at ease about celebrating the holiday because in Spanish it is called “Pascua.” That is the Spanish word for “Passover.” It is associated with the Jewish celebration of the Passover.  Unfortunately, most of the pagan traditions that go with the celebration are still included in Spanish speaking countries.

It is unfortunate that most Christians also observe Good Friday.  Anyone who reads the Bible carefully should know that Jesus didn’t die on Friday.  Perhaps Friday was chosen because it lends itself to the convenience of a long weekend.  In Mark 8:31 we read that Jesus told his disciples, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Also in Matthew 12:40 Jesus said, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  In Mark 16:1-2 we read that Jesus rose from the dead the first day of the week.  “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.   And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.”  There aren’t three days and three nights between Friday and Sunday.

The Easter bunny is also of pagan origin.  It was a sexual symbol of fertility.  The Easter eggs also are symbols of fertility.  If we take those things out of the holiday it would be a great disappointment for children.  For them, the things that are special about the holiday are the chocolate bunnies and the Easter eggs.  Many times children aren’t told about the resurrection of Christ and what it should mean to us.  Christian parents have an obligation to explain to their children why they celebrate Easter.

What should be the attitude of genuine Christians regarding Easter?  I Corinthians 6:20 says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  In all things we should give glory to God.  It is of great significance that Christ rose from the dead.  That is something to celebrate.  It seems in order that God’s people set aside a time when they come together to give glory to God for the resurrection of Christ.

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Be Thankful

October 15, 2015

                                            Be Thankful

Thankfulness is good for the soul.  It diverts our attention away from our pain and problems and focuses it on the good things in life.

The first Thanksgiving Day was celebrated by 53 Pilgrims in 1621. It lasted for three days.  It was a harvest festival and a time of thanksgiving, all in one.  The governor sent four men out with their muzzle loaders to bring in some game.  The Indians joined them and contributed four deer that they had killed.  Back then they cooked their food outside over an open fire.  They built their humble homes out of logs they cut, trimmed and lifted in place by brute strength.  In the winter the wind and snow blew in through the cracks. If any of us found ourselves in their shoes we would think we were extremely miserable.  They still had reason to give thanks, and so should we whether we have little or much.

Being thankful is not just something to occupy our minds one day or one month of the year.  We should be continually thankful.  There is reason for being thankful every day of the year.  Don’t think that the only things you need to be thankful for are those that are astronomically favorable to you. We don’t deserve anything from God.  All he gives you is of his mercy.  The air you breathe, the food you eat and the bed you sleep on are from his bountiful hand.  Some have to carry an oxygen tank around with them in order to breath.  If you aren’t one of them, thank God that you don’t need it.  If you are one of them, thank God there is such a thing.  Every time you sit down to a meal, thank God for it.  There are some in this world who are starving.  Thank God for your comfortable mattress every time you stretch out on it.  There are those who sleep on the floor, sometimes just a dirt floor.

In II Timothy 3:1-2 we find being unthankful in a list of ugly sins. “This knows also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.   For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.”  If you are unthankful you are guilty before God.

The words “thanks” and “thankful” appear multiplied times in the Bible.  That should be an indication to us that not only is it important to God, but also that it is a custom of God’s people.

This year many will sit down to the Thanksgiving table, loaded with delicious food, without so much as giving thanks for it.  Why do you celebrate Thanksgiving if you don’t give thanks?  The celebration is without significance if we don’t give thanks.  The whole idea of Thanksgiving loses significance if we don’t believe in a personal God who is the creator and sustainer of life.  We don’t give thanks to happen stance.  If there is no God behind the events of life we have no one to thank for the good that we enjoy.

I Thessalonians 5:18 tells us that we should give thanks for everything.   “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” That may seem impossible for some. Surrendered Christians, however, have faith in God that he makes no mistakes.  They find assurance of that in Romans 8:28.  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The acceptance of that truth gives certainty in the midst of trials that would otherwise cause anxiety.  When things go wrong for God fearing Christians they don’t curse God for it.  They just cling stronger to the promise of God.  Job 23:10 says, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

If you are cheerful and thankful it will inspire others to be thankful also. By being thankful you can brighten the day for others.  They may stop to realize that, in reality, they have much more to be thankful for than you do.  If you are a child of God you need to be telling others how grateful you are for what God has done and continues to do for you.  Tell them how thankful you are that you have a glorious future awaiting you in heaven because Jesus died on the cross to make it possible for us to go there.

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The Reason For The Season

November 24, 2014

The Reason For The Season

            Why do you celebrate Christmas?  Not all of us have the same reason for celebrating the season.

For some, Christmas is an occasion to get together with relatives and friends.  Usually that brings happiness, but sometimes it ends in arguments and hurt feelings.

For business people, it’s a time of increased sales.  They say, “Well people are going to spend money anyhow, so we may as well take advantage of it.”

Some people look forward to Christmas because of the excitement of receiving gifts.  It is a joy to receive gifts, but there are often some that we don’t want or need.

Many look forward to sitting down to the table and eating the Christmas dinner.  There is usually an abundance of good food and some special dishes that don’t often appear on the table.

For some, Christmas is a time for big parties with dancing and drinking.

Some may just enjoy all that has become a part of Christmas; things like the decorations, the music, special greetings, and Christmas cards.

No doubt, for some, various or all of the above are included in their reason for celebrating the season.

The honest truth is that history confirms the fact that Christmas began as a pagan holiday.  Around the fourth century the Catholic Church converted it to a Christian holiday by giving it some Christian connotations.  For centuries now Christmas has been purported to be in commemoration of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem.

Holidays are celebrated in commemoration of something special.  For example, Veteran’s Day is celebrated in commemoration of the soldiers, living and dead, who defended our country.  Easter is celebrated in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ.  The Fourth of July is celebrated in commemoration of the victory our forefathers won against England, and gave us a free country.  Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks to God for his goodness to us.  Even birthdays are celebrated because someone has completed another year of life.

The fact that Jesus was willing to leave heaven’s glory and come to this earth and be born as a babe in a manger is certainly reason for a great celebration.  At Christmas we celebrate, not just Jesus birth, but that he became a man and lived among us. He proved, by the way he lived, that he was truly the Son of God.  Then he gave his life in a cruel death for our sins, so that we can be forgiven and have a glorious future.

There needs to be a reason for a celebration.   If you choose to celebrate the season without a reason, or for a reason that leaves Jesus Christ out, that is your privilege.  However, please don’t censure those who celebrate it in commemoration of the birth of Christ.



Celebrating Christmas With Dignity

            If there is going to be a celebration, shouldn’t there be a reason for it?  We celebrate a birthday because someone we know is a year older.  We celebrate because our political party won an election or our athletic team won a championship game.  It’s strange that, if we ask a lot of people why they celebrate Christmas, they don’t know what to say.  Perhaps they’ll say “It’s because of the birth of Christ.”  Even so, in their celebration, they give little, if any, recognition to Christ. For some, Christmas is nothing more than an occasion for giving themselves to unbridled indulgence.

It’s unfortunate that many, who profess to be Christians, are carried along by the customs of those around them.  A believer in Christ should know what it means to celebrate Christmas with dignity.  Christmas is celebrated in various ways in different parts of the world.  They aren’t always wrong.  We should know how to distinguish between good and bad customs.

In the thinking of many people, you can’t celebrate without alcoholic beverages.  They close their eyes to the carnage and shame that results from the consumption of alcohol.  Thousands die on the highways every year because of it.   Thousands becomes victims of alcoholism.  Marriages and homes are broken up because of it.  Proverbs 20:1 says “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”  The occasion doesn’t justify doing wrong.  Sometimes, on Christmas Eve, a relative or friend of a Christian invites him to drink a toast to the occasion with a glass of cider or whisky.  The easiest thing to do would be to participate without saying anything.  To refuse might be embarrassing and require an explanation.  A good Christian is always ready to explain why he doesn’t participate in sinful acts.  How can we ask for good to come by using that which has so much potential for evil?

We are not being honest with our children when we tell them that their good behavior will be rewarded by a jolly old fat man who comes around at Christmas.  What a crime it is to tell them that this jolly old fat man has divine power and knows them personally and knows if they have been naughty or nice during the year.  What a shame it is that even professing Christians let Santa Claus take the place of Christ.  Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).  Satan is adept at putting something or someone between men and God.  Among those he uses are the pope, the Virgin Mary, saints and, for the children, Santa Claus.  Why don’t we tell children that at Christmas we give gifts because Jesus gave his life for us so that we can have life and life more abundantly?

It’s sad to hear of the many social conflicts that result from Christmas.  Some try to impress others with expensive gifts or elaborate celebrations.  Many times family gatherings turn into arguments and family fights.  Some people have a nervous breakdown after the holiday.  Some are moved to tears and shame because a loved one drank too much and made a fool of himself or herself and brought shame on the family.

All of this should cause us to see the need of being careful about the way we celebrate Christmas.  If we can honestly say that the birth of Christ is the reason why we celebrate Christmas, we should then take into consideration that which is pleasing to him.  We should also take into consideration what the Apostle Paul said, “I therefore, (the prisoner of the Lord,) beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1).  Sometimes our relatives invite us to participate with them in questionable or shameful things.  We don’t need to pass ourselves off as “super saints.”  At the same time, it should be possible to find a kind way of saying, “I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable about doing that.”  In all of life, including Christmas, our rule should be, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40).

Now I would like to suggest some things you could do to celebrate Christmas with dignity.

  1.  Gather the family together and read the Biblical account of Christ’s birth.  It’s found in Mathew 1:18-2:27 and Luke 1:26-35, 2:1-20.
  2. Watch, with the family, a DVD about the birth of Christ or some other good Christian DVD.
  3. If you give gifts, they don’t need to be costly.  Something made by hand is always well received.
  4. If someone in the family knows how to play a musical instrument, it’s great to pass some time together singing hymns and Christmas carols.
  5. If you know someone who will most likely be alone on Christmas day, why don’t you invite them to spend the day at your house?
  6. Make some ginger bread, sweet rolls or cookies and share them with your neighbors and friends.
  7. Go to the local hospital at visiting hours on Christmas day and give the patients a little gift and a tract from your church.

Some people say that we as Christian’s shouldn’t celebrate Christmas at all.  They point out that it originated from a pagan holiday.  That may be true but I see nothing wrong with giving special recognition to Christ for his great sacrifice in coming to this world to be, for a time, one of us and to die on the cross so that we might have forgiveness and life worth living.  It would be better to not celebrate Christmas if your only reason is to indulge in sinful pleasure.  As we have seen, there are ways to celebrate Christmas with dignity and make it a glorious occasion.


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