Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give thanks...

1 Thessalonians 5:14-23 (King James Version)
"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit.
Despise not prophesyings.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

I realized last night that I have not an appetizer to our name for dinner today. We had plans to have another family join us, but do to illness can't make it. We still have another couple coming and family as what? My husband told me not to worry, the stores are open and he would go pick something up...That's right the stores are open. Ugh, how I hate that the stores are open today at all.
Yes, when we were kids, for the most part, nothing was open on Sundays except the local bakery for a few hours. In our neighborhood the mom and pop supermarket and deli were open until noon or at the latest 2pm. But it was only a generation before that NOTHING was open on Sundays.
Recently I was lamenting to a friend that I would have to wait until noon to get something at the mall because it was Sunday. She asked me if I like living in a cave. The stores open at 10:00 on Sundays now, just like every other day of the week.
I suppose it boils down to money, perfectionism and a lack of belief in Providence doesn't it? The corporate stores can make more money by being open on Sundays, it feeds our belief that we must all be like Martha Stewart. We can have a perfect Thanksgiving (insert Christmas, New Years, 4th of July here) because if we forget our appetizers we can run to the store and the day will be saved. If we burn the turkey we can get another one, the restaurants are all open after all today as well. We can pick up an extra case of soda or beer or napkins if we feel the need to do so.
Of course that would mean that we don't really need to plan ahead do we? That would mean that we don't have to "pray about everything" because our needs or wants are available to purchase at any time on any day.
Legend has it that my mom's best high school friend, Ginger, hosted her first Thanksgiving with her new husband and his family. Her mom was not a cook at all so she asked my grandmother what and how to do everything. When the big day arrived, she knew to wash up the turkey before she cooked it and so she did. She scrubbed that bad boy Tom with soap and Ajax! Needless to say, dinner was not yummy! LOL! But there were plenty of side dishes and it became family legend to be told and retold every year at the table.
The Pilgrims understood what it was to live and die in need of all things. How awful that they came here for religious freedom and suffered that first winter with such lose. Can you imagine how much they must have missed England at that point? And yet, those that survived gave thanks in season and out. They did not give thank just on the first Thanksgiving, they did it everyday.
Today we live in historic times in a nation called no longer Christian by our commander-in-chief. To some degree he is right. He has held up a mirror and simply condemned us by our own actions. We, as a nation, have allowed more atrocities in the name of freedom, then any other nation with the murder of the innocent in the womb. We have allowed gay marriage. We have stood by and tsk-tsked the sexualization of our little girls. We have handed over our religious freedom out of the fear that we might offend someone by saying the name above all names in public unless it is to swear. As a nation, we the people, have allowed these things. Now what? Now what?
I don't know, except to give thanks today and everyday. On this uniquely American and religious holiday we should all give thanks for the "little foxes" that crept in to our garden. It is what has awakened this sleeping dog to say no more. We must give thanks for the president we have, because so many of us are standing up and say "NO!" to liberties being stolen and grabbed away. It did not start with him, it began a long time ago, one little fox at a time. It started with one little store open on a Sunday at a time. Eve could not put the bite back into the fruit. Remember, God did not forget us even in our sinfulness. Today lets be grateful that He has pealed the scales off of our eyes and raised up a nation, yet again, that will not stand for sin. We cannot bring it back to the days of our parents, but we can ask for God to bring us forward and re-found our nation, based again, on our Christian values and principles. Today we can thank God for the storm we find ourselves in and watch Him reveal Himself in this storm.

How about you?
How will you thank Him today? How deeply will that thanks go? How has freedom blessed you in the greatest nation in the world? How has this freedom blessed your family, in the season of caregiver? Are you mourning? How can you thank Him today in your sadness?

Let's pray:
Father in the name of Jesus, we pray. On a day set apart to give You thanks, we are humbled by all that is around us. We have more questions then answers in our nation today. Will we have the freedom to choose the care our parents need, or our children or ourselves? Will we lose that freedom in the name of government? Lord God remind us always to render to Ceaser what is Ceaser's but to render to You, what belongs to You. Let us rest and gain strength to fight for the nation You have blessed with such abundance. Forgive our squandering of it all. Pull us back, protect us from the enemy without and within. Thank You for the time left with our parents or for calling them home to rest in the ultimate healing. You alone are God of all, and we have been endowed by You with certain unalienable rights to life, liberty and property. You alone can place Your hand on our nation and call us forth as a remnant. Thank You for all You have done and what You are about to do. In Your name, Amen.

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