Archive for November, 2010

What Sort of Thanksgiving Do You Observe?

November 29, 2010

Yes, it’s that time of year again and, just as I did last year, and the year before, I wondered, as I listened to other people around me discussing the holiday, just how many different ways Thanksgiving was being observed. I came to the conclusion that there are essentially three, if you omit the atheists and other people who avoid holidays altogether.

The first group considers Thanksgiving as that one time during the year where family and friends come together, eat like pigs, watch football, and fall asleep on the couch. The name has been unofficially changed, for these folks, to “Turkey Day”; a perfect designation for their egocentric celebration. Why they make such a big deal over it is beyond me. It’s not as though Thanksgiving is different from any other Sunday they experience, even though Thanksgiving is always on Thursday. Maybe, for them, it’s like two football Sundays in the same week, or perhaps it has to do with it being, for many of them, the first day in a four-day weekend, and hence the special observance. I think it’s just another excuse these folks to engage in even more self-indulgent activities.

Next we’ll consider the second group. For them, Thanksgiving represents a peak of a crescendo in a materialistic musical holiday celebration, which began the day after Halloween and ends the day after the New Year. Another way of looking at it is that Thanksgiving, for them, is just another point on their gantt chart of holiday season goals, which culminate with shopping for deals on the second day of the New Year. This is the group for whom the acquisition of stuff is all important. Thankfulness, like charity, is about as far from them as it could be.

Now, we come to the third group. This group, of which I believe I could consider myself to be a part of, looks at Thanksgiving first, as a reminder to always Give Thanks to the One from whom all good things come, and secondly, as a time for giving out of our abundance, to those who are in need. This isn’t always money, because money can’t fulfill all the needs one encounters in those we meet.

Sometimes, all that’s need is a kind word and a smile. Often, spending time with a lonely, ill or elderly person and offering an attentive and sympathetic ear does the trick. Fix something that’s broken for someone else, without expecting anything in return. Share a meal with someone. Volunteer in a soup kitchen. I could go on but I think you get the idea. We all have natural, as well as spiritual gifts which God has given us to use in His service. The beauty of this kind of Thanksgiving holy day (the expression from which “holiday” is derived) is that it is celebrated each and every time we use one of our gifts to help someone else, but especially when we help those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).

I want to encourage all of you who are members of the One Body (I cannot speak to the professors and non-believers), to remember that Thanksgiving needs to be celebrated by us, each and every day of the year. You see, God has given us many things to do while we await His culminating act of redemption. All of humanity is struggling under the burden of Sin. God desires us to use the gifts He gave to us in the service of meeting the needs of others. Peradventure, through those acts of service, the light of God’s love for Mankind might be clearly seen by those whose lives we touch. Then that they would hear what God has said to all of us and receive the Gospel that truly saves.

Personally, I believe that we, who rightly divide the Word of Truth, gathering as the Church in the home, are best suited to present God’s Gospel of redemption to this lost and dying world. Ever increasing numbers of people are becoming ever so jaded towards the institutionalized churches since the recent exposure of all manner of corruption, sexual perversion and hypocritical & contradictory doctrines. We, to the contrary, come from no organization of human origin. We don’t want or need other people’s money. We have no buildings to consume the tithes of the faithful. No pompous “leaders” and their staff demand our attention, service and obedience. No one confuses the members with personal opinions while exercising pretended authority over the Body. We do not put on plays and pageants characterized by flashy showmanship, mediocre music and bad doctrine. Because we are constantly striving to be true to God’s Word in all we do (and we examine ourselves biblically to make sure we have not gone off the rails), we carry no baggage; intellectual, theological, or doctrinal, that causes people to stumble. We are just families who have been taught by God through His Word and we are everywhere.The practical, common sense things we can do for people in need are far more valuable than a lot of memorized religious platitudes, especially where sharing the Gospel is concerned.

My fellow house church dispensationalists, as you can see, we have been given a tremendous advantage, but it’s not one to be used upon ourselves. It’s to serve others for the sake of the Gospel. Those “others” are folks out of those first two groups I mentioned above, and even the atheists too. Eventually, all the false gods fail and people look for someone to explain it; Someone not sporting the trappings and hypocrisy of religion; Christendom in particular.

Be that someone with me.

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