What does it say about our culture (and our hearts) that our biggest shopping day of the year comes directly on the heels of a day when we purport to be thankful for what we have? ~ Christianne Squire, On Black Friday Don’t Forget to Give Thanks
Advent starts Sunday and leads us right up to Christmas. Advent reminds us of the hope we have in the coming Kingdom of God. It is a season of anticipation that we will soon experience God’s kingdom more fully. Not only does God’s kingdom bring hope, it also brings love, joy and peace.
We symbolize the coming of God’s kingdom by lighting candles. As light shines in the darkness, so our hope in God shatters the darkness. Isaiah 9:2 says, “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those walking in deep darkness a light has shined.”
Our hope this Advent season is that we will walk in light and then become ambassadors of light to a people who walk in deep darkness.
From the New York Times:
The most psychologically correct holiday of the year is upon us.
Thanksgiving may be the holiday from hell for nutritionists, and it produces plenty of war stories for psychiatrists dealing with drunken family meltdowns. But it has recently become the favorite feast of psychologists studying the consequences of giving thanks. Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners. A new study shows that feeling grateful makes people less likely to turn aggressive when provoked, which helps explain why so many brothers-in-law survive Thanksgiving without serious injury.
The article goes on to suggest that we start gratitude journals to enhance our over all sense of well-being and thankfulness. Compared with a control group, the people keeping the gratitude journal felt happier. They also reported fewer physical problems and spent more time working out.
We do a version of the gratitude journal at our home by posting 100 things to be thankful for on a poster board. Last year we upped the anti to 1000. At the end of the project we all felt kinder, healthier and sleepier.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. ~ Colossians 2:9-10
The fullness of God is in Jesus and this fullness enters the world in Jesus. And when this fullness shapes the church, Paul can’t contain his gratitude.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace…. ~ Colossians 1:3-6
This same fullness shapes us and leads to this condition whereby we are so filled with gratitude that it is impossible to stop giving thanks.
The fullness of God in Jesus shapes us, shapes the church and shapes the world. Thanks be to God!
Originally posted on Charis: Subject to Change:
“We modern people think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order. The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that he has power but also wonderful foretastes of what he is going to do with that power. Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming.”
— Timothy Keller
Two ways to prepare for Thanksgiving.
First, ponder this quote: “Dogs are God’s way of apologizing for your relatives.” Give thanks for your dog.
Second: Giving thanks is the opportunity to express our gratitude which many think is the foundation of healthy spirituality. What are the best gratitude quotes you know? Would you be willing to share them with me?
Have a great weekend.