Stress or Rest? A Choice For The Holidays

Sandwiched between 2 big holidays is a Thursday holiday that is slowly becoming more minuscule in the minds of the American public. Thanksgiving’s definition in the dictionary says it is the expression of gratitude especially to God. As we learned in school the first Thanksgiving was in 1692, the Pilgrims celebrated a successful harvest. It wasn’t until 1789, George Washington named Thursday Nov. 26 to be “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer”. Still it wasn’t an annual celebration. President Lincoln after the civil war proclaimed the last Thursday in November to be a day of thanks and praise to bring hope & belief in bringing the nation back together. In 1939 President Roosevelt was influenced by complaints of retailers that they only had 24 shopping days to Christmas and begged him to push it one week earlier! So Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving to November 23rd .Somehow our perception of Thanksgiving has gone askew. We’ve forgotten the reason for celebration, GRATITUDE. ….. In 1961 the day after Thanksgiving , Black Friday was named as the beginning of Christmas shopping at 6am.In the late 2000’s, it crept to 5 and 4 am. In 2011 several stores opened [email protected] midnight. 2012 retailers announced they would open 8pm. on Thanksgiving! This year again even earlier, stores are opening at 5 and 6pm Thanksgiving.
The whole meaning of the holiday has been lost. Unbelievable reports of violence occur between shoppers who have camped for days to be first in the store. What are the holidays to you? In asking people, some have said Thanksgiving means football; others say no work and eating a lot. Have we totally forgotten the real meaning of the holidays? It reminds me of the story in Luke 17:12-19 the healing of 10 lepers. Only 1 of them who was a Samaritan came back and fell down on his face at Jesus’ feet and gave thanks. Jesus then said, “ Were there not 10 cleansed, where are the 9?” I’m afraid to say we all have been more like the 9 at some time or another. Perhaps you’d like to redirect your family towards gratitude this year? My extended family, after being through many changes this past year , have agreed we have a lot to give thanks for. We have said this year, a table setting, elaborate menu, or fancy dish ware doesn’t matter. What’s important is we are going to be together to eat, give thanks, pray and fellowship. We are choosing to keep focus on what’s most important. I usually stress out with all the preparations. Thanksgiving can be the beginning of a roller coaster of stress. It’s the time of setting up the tree, unexpected guest, cooking, traditions, decorating, baking, shopping , parties, sending cards and on and on. Matt 11:38 says “Come to ME all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Using the old insurance commercial slogan,” I can’t take that ride”, choose not to get on that roller coaster! Rest in the Lord and don’t stress. Does that mean relax and do nothing? No, but reflect on why we celebrate, give thanks for what Our Savior has done., and lastly give to others. May the Lord Bless you as you experience the holidays in an attitude of gratitude, choosing to focus , resting in Him.
Rev. 7:12 “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever Amen”

Zelda D.

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