By Guest Columnist Jehu Brabham
It’s hard to believe the holiday season is upon us. No better way to start my annual Thanksgiving message than to wish all my Clinton friends a happy, peaceful and blessed holiday season.
There are many awesome Bible verses on the subject of thanksgiving in the Bible. I love to read from the book of Psalms verses like, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His Holy name.”
However, for this years’ Thanksgiving article, I have chosen an unusual thanksgiving verse. This verse came to mind early one morning, while I was sitting on my deck. Birds were flocking to my feeders, singing in their melodious voices, and, I believe, giving thanks for another day of life.
I am sure most remember the Bible verse where Jesus said, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”
Do you worry a lot? All of us probably do, because we feel like there are a lot of things to worry about. I suspect, right now, many of us are worried about Thanksgiving and the holiday season. What will the traffic be like for our travels or for those who are traveling to see us? Will the turkey thaw in time? Will a grandchild point at the green bean casserole and say, “WHAT IS THAT?” Will we be able to choke down our Thanksgiving meal quick enough to get on the road to the Egg Bowl?
Oftentimes, we get so worried about the preparations for Thanksgiving that we don’t really enjoy the holiday very much, especially when we spend hours preparing the perfect spread, which is then gobbled up in twenty minutes or less. And it’s not just Thanksgiving. We work ourselves into a frenzy worrying over all sorts of things. In fact, worry is such a part of our lives that, if we’re not worried about something, we worry that we’re forgetting what we are supposed to be worrying about!
Certainly, there are legitimate fears that we experience. And a healthy level of worry or concern keeps us alert and cautious. But worry can also be distracting and even paralyzing. We become so consumed with worry that we don’t enjoy life, as I mentioned often happens at Thanksgiving and around the holidays. We don’t take time to pause to enjoy the holiday, our family and friends, because we are too worried about trying to make the holiday perfect.
So, friend, don’t get consumed by the frantic schedule of the holiday season. We have much to be thankful for. Let’s exercise our gratitude muscles with a kind word of thanks, an appropriate hug or pat on the back, and a daily word of “Thank you, Lord.” I want to encourage everyone during this Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons to set aside your worry by focusing your attitude on giving thanks to God for everything good in our lives. As people of faith, we believe and must demonstrate in our daily lives that Almighty God works good in our lives even through the worst of situations. Friend, don’t let the stress of this holiday season drown you in worry. Lean upon your faith. Remember that God is with you and will help you through even the most stressful times.
I believe very strongly that the cure for anxiety and worry is thanksgiving. Let’s take a big dose of thanksgiving this week as we gather around the table with family and friends for fellowship and good food. Let’s thank God for the people around us, for the food on our tables, for the securities we enjoy. And Mighty God, remind us that thanksgiving is not just a one day a year experience. If we are to move beyond worry, we need to “accentuate a positive attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving.”
Friend, I hope for all a blessed Thanksgiving and upcoming holiday season. I encourage you to make sure you take time every day to thank Almighty God. Thank Him for the cross. Thank Him for His amazing grace. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Thank Him for His provision in your life. Thank Him for His presence. Thank Him for His love.
In closing, let me urge you to say to your family, as I say to mine, a heartfelt thank you and I love you — to my wife Cheryl, sons Grant and Cole, daughters-in-law Anna and Catherine, grandsons Kaden and Knox, granddaughter Caroline, Mama Bryant, Cindi and Ricky Brown, Caren and Gary Taylor, Whitney and Gray Williams, Sadie and Mac, Hannah and Chase Williams and Charlie.
On behalf of our family, I offer to Almighty God our prayer of joyful praise, thankfulness for times of fellowship and friendship, and all the blessings He has provided for us, done for us, and taught us. Lord, thank you for kindness, mercy, compassion and grace. Most of all, we rejoice and thank you for giving us that vast, sustaining and boundless love. You are truly an awesome God.
Loving God, we owe it all to you.