The winter holiday season is upon us (I know, the calendar says it’s still autumn, but winter weather has already shown up).
Thanksgiving is this week and, although it’s a distinctively American holiday, at least when it’s celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, it is based upon the realization that God is the provider of all necessities and blessings (James 1:17: Acts 17:24-28; Ephesians 1:3).
I was reminded of Thanksgiving recently when my wife showed me the following statement in a church newsletter, “I think I have found my niche. I plan to be very happy and very safe.” That was actually in a farewell letter to her former church by my wife’s elderly relative, Millie, who had just moved to an assisted living center called Grand Court in another state.
A couple of things in the letter demonstrate how impressive this lady really is and her impressiveness is related to her attitude about life.
First, like many people, Millie has suffered much physical pain. She specifically mentioned sciatica in the farewell letter, but there is more. Nonetheless, she always has a cheerful outlook (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:1-5). To her, all things truly are pure and useful to God’s purpose, which keeps a smile on her face and an encouraging spirit in her heart despite her health issues (Titus 1:15; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; Romans 8:9-18, 28).
Humankind was created in God’s image to live in his presence having fellowship with him (our niche), but that was tarnished by man’s sin (Genesis 1:26-27; 3:1-24). Millie has always been in her niche since she became a Christian and allowed God to recreate her in his image (Colossians 3:1-10; Ephesians 4:2-24). That recreation/renewal takes place because Christians have entered the Grand Court having brought the appropriate sacrifice to God (Psalm 96:8; Hebrews 7:22-27; 9:11-12; Romans 12:1-2; 6:3-10; Titus 3:3-7).
Because Millie is in the Grand Court, no matter where she is on earth, or what day it is, she knows she’s always in God’s presence. She knows he’ll never leave her so she has nothing to fear and that all her needs will be supplied with blessings beyond (Hebrews 13:5-6; Psalm 121:1-8). This has allowed her to learn the secret of contentment and it has given her the ability to realize and express her joy at all times (Philippians 4:4-13; Psalm 118:24). That’s why she can say she plans “to be very happy and very safe.”
If you will look to God for help and present yourself as the living sacrifice he desires through baptism (the washing of rebirth and renewal, Acts 2:38-39; 22:16), you also can enter his courts with praise and thanksgiving in your heart (1 Thessalonians 5:16; Psalm 100:4-5). And you will have the peace that surpasses the understanding of those who have not entered into God’s presence.
Being at peace because we know God is in charge and will provide for all our needs and bless us because we’re in Christ Jesus is the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org