Some readers know immediately what their favorite holiday is and others I’m sure would really struggle to choose just one. I hope no one is thinking of their birthday as I’m confident it isn’t a national holiday. (My birthday wouldn’t even be in consideration because at my age they come too often!)
I haven’t done any polling, but I would guess the majority would choose Christmas. And Christmas is no doubt a wonderful holiday and celebration. Easter would certainly be in consideration for some Christians,and not because of egg hunts and candy, but because of what Jesus’ resurrection means. Dedicated patriots might opt for July 4th or Veteran’s Day and a few romantics for Valentine’s Day. Some sentimentalists may lean towards Mother’s Day and I would hope a few might consider Father’s Day. New Year’s Eve and Day have a lot to offer and may be the choice of a few. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or President’s Day may be in the running for some. A lot of people enjoy it, but I doubt anyone would choose April Fools’ Day.
Because I haven’t mentioned it, and because it is this week, I’m sure you know I am going to say my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. More than any of the other holidays, the focus of Thanksgiving (expressing gratitude not the eating or football on TV!) is something we should do throughout the year. As John Stott observes, “Thankfulness ought always to characterize the people of God.”
Having a thankful heart is important to God and not having a thankful heart displeases Him. In Romans 1:21 Paul notes about some that “although they knew God [through creation], they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him.” In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus healed ten lepers and was disappointed only one returned to thank Him and give praise to God. The book of Psalms is filled with both calls to give thanks as well as expressions of thanksgiving.
My favorite passage dealing with this subject is I Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” While all three charges are God’s will for us in Christ Jesus, it’s the third one that I want to underscore. Sometimes people misread verse 18 thinking it says “give thanks for all circumstances,” but that’s not what Paul is saying. We are called to “give thanks in all circumstance.” God doesn’t call us to give thanks for every circumstance we find ourselves in, but He does want us to find things in every circumstance for which we can be grateful.
Whether Thanksgiving is your favorite holiday or not, I hope you have a great day Thursday and use the occasion to express gratitude.
Father in Heaven,
Thank you for the holiday of Thanksgiving. We have a sense of how important it is for us to cultivate thankfulness; how good it is for those to whom we say thanks as well as how good it is for us do so. Help us to be aware of our blessings and help us grow in our desire to express gratitude. Draw us to yourself and fill us with your Spirit that we might walk with You.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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