From Thanksgiving to Advent
by Ben Purves (December 1, 2011)
This year’s Thanksgiving celebrations prompted my wife Ricki and I to take another look at the holiday’s historical origins. I pulled my old volume “Of Plymouth Plantation” by William Bradford off the shelf and thumbed through it, reminded of the colonists’ recognition of God’s providence, blessings, and mercies as they struggled to establish their new life at Plymouth. We then read through Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation which designated the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. In the midst of an incredibly difficult time for our nation, Lincoln paused to observe God’s blessings and called for a national day of thankfulness and prayer.
Have you taken time to pause and thank God for His many providences this holiday season? While we tend to give special attention to some of God’s more obvious blessings, we are often forgetful or thankless for the common grace poured out on us each day. The Lord sovereignly rules over all things, sustains our very existence, and blesses us with the sunshine and rain regardless of our merit (Col 1:15-18, Mat 5:45). Even though these graces are “common,” we should reflect on and be awed by these “ordinary” miracles.
At our “Youth Family Thanksgiving Dinner,” I shared briefly from Psalm 145 which praises God for His “abundant goodness” and “mighty deeds” on behalf of His children. We see this most vividly in God’s sacrificial gift of His only begotten Son for our redemption. Now that God has blessed Ricki and I with our son Andrew, and as we experience new parenthood, the Father’s giving of the Son has become more wondrously mysterious to us.
Pastor Kyle’s sermon on Isaiah 52:1-12 this last Sunday bridged the gap from Thanksgiving to Advent. We need to look back at all God has done for us with gratitude, and also look forward with thankfulness to the fulfillment of all He has promised us in our Savior! Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, let us not stop giving thanks this Christmas season, but let us also focus our attention on Advent, the mystery and wonder of the Incarnation, and the coming joy of our Lord’s triumphant return.
May we praise Him every day and forever (Psalm 145:2)!