My youngest granddaughter had a birthday party the other day. Only the family attended, not all the family, only some of the cousins. After the presents, cake, and balloons, one of the adults said, “Does it seem like Thanksgiving to anybody?”
The response was unanimous: No one thought it seemed like Thanksgiving.
My first thought, believe it or not, was about this column. I usually write something about the Thanksgiving holiday. Usually, it is a scathing report on the greed of Black Friday, and the lack of thankfulness people have nowadays. Typically, newspapers would already have my yearly Thanksgiving columns. Under normal circumstances, I would already have in mind the two or three columns I write about Christmas. Honestly, none of the usual holiday columns have entered my mind. It does not seem like the holiday season.
My mind wandered to the usual Thanksgiving events. The big event in our family is the get together for the meal. There are 24 of us when the kids, kids-in-law, grandchildren, and Julie and I gather each Thanksgiving. This year, including Julie and I, only 11 will be here. We also have many people in our sphere of influence that live alone. We will usually have one or two at our house on Thanksgiving Day to enjoy the time with our family. We have not invited anyone this year.
One thing I have been doing since I was about five years old — turn on the TV on Thanksgiving morning and watch the parades. I may be in my 60s now, but there is something about seeing a mammoth Snoopy flying through the skies of New York City that catches my attention. My brain asks the question, “Are they having the parade this year?” Macy’s webpage says, “Let’s celebrate together — at home!” Macy’s goes on to explain that they will not be marching through the streets of Manhattan this year and that the parade will be “a TV only event.” It will be interesting to see how they pull this off, but one this is certain — it will not be the same.
The tradition of all-day football playing in the background will continue, but the stadium seats are empty or with very few fans because of social distancing.
Looking ahead to Christmas — we have already canceled our traditional children’s Christmas party, but the Christmas Eve dinner is still on. Yet, just like Thanksgiving, with less than half the usual attendance.
It does not feel like the holiday season.
The weather is not helping the matter either. In my neck of the woods, our temperatures are running ten to fifteen degrees above normal.
Our Christmas shopping is nearly finished; this also is not normal in my household. Also, probably ninety percent of the shopping already accomplished was done online — another all-time high for us.
Everything above causing this non-holiday feeling, except the weather, has one underlying cause, and you all know what it is — the virus.
It seems like Ebenezer Scrooge is in the majority this holiday season. Give a hardy, “Bah humbug!” followed by locking yourself inside, away from everyone else.
It does not feel like the holiday season.
Thanksgiving Day may be upon us, but the Day of Thanksgiving is every day. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” If we are giving thanks for everything, we will give thanks every day.
If you are a child of God, His blessings pour down upon you every day. Psalm 68:19, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”
The Psalmist makes the effort to point out that God is the God of our salvation. Salvation is something else that deserves our thanks. 2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
Some may be thinking that salvation is not a gift; it is something you earn. People tend to believe salvation is an achievement acquired by being good, not committing specific horrific sins, participating in some religious ritual, and various other things. The truth is, God, says salvation is a gift. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Think of any Christmas present you have received. You did not pay for it, but the person giving you the gift did. We do not pay for salvation. Jesus Christ paid for eternal life with His blood on the cross.
Faith opens the gift of salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
It does not seem like Thanksgiving season, but if you have received God’s gift of salvation, there are countless reasons for thankfulness.
Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in northern Parke County, Indiana. Webpage: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; address: 410 S. Jefferson St. Rockville IN 47872; all Bible references KJV. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.