The Third Sunday of Advent: Thanksgiving


I used to worry All…The…Time. In fact, my sixth-grade teacher fussed at me about worrying. Her comments didn’t help. They only made me feel bad. I then worried about worrying about worrying. What a conundrum and downward spiral. For when the focus was on myself and how I could be better (i.e. not worry), I didn’t see the beauty of what was around me.

If the option was given, none of us would, with determined gusto, declare, “I choose to worry about this…or that.” But there it is, nipping at our heels, niggling away at the backs of our minds, invading our peace like something sticky that just won’t let go. Worry certainly doesn’t make sense. But, as if it will be the end-all, solving all the problems of our worlds, we keep at it. Sometimes wearing it with pride, like it is a badge of honor, we trudge through our day looking not through rose-colored glasses, like my mama literally wore, but more with the outlook of “Oh woe is me.” Producing the habit of looking for, expecting, and sometimes living in the “what-ifs,” we often miss the hard to find blessing hidden by the thorns.

But there is hope. Being thankful, like the act of adoration, peels our eyes and attention off of our circumstances that are so painful, so very bleak, and sometimes even so unnecessary, forcing them to look heavenward. And because any semblance of gratitude, because it all seems so insincere—much like “the wagon pulling the horse”or the “tail wagging the dog”—what the Bible calls “the sacrifice of praise” or of thanksgiving, happens long before we can, in honesty, feel thankfulness. With each utterance of thanksgiving we are handing over to God and trusting Him with what feels impossible. And every time that happens our faith has a chance to grow.

Thanksgiving turns the tide of hopelessness.

Thanksgiving reminds us that truly, God is in control.

Thanksgiving restores peace and joy.

Thanksgiving is a gift from God.

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)

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