It's wonderful how Thanksgiving and Advent go hand in hand.
Thanksgiving Day does come at a good time in our calendar year. It fits nestled between the end of the calendar year and Christmas. On Thanksgiving, we pause the hectic rhythm of our daily schedule to make one full day a “Thank You” to God for many good things received, hastily used, and taken for granted during the past year. It's a wonderful family holiday which everyone shares. I’m certain God is pleased with this great tradition and looks forward each year to hearing our prayers and words of thankfulness.
Thanksgiving is also a restful oasis from the frantic shopping that follows this celebration. As soon as the turkey is done, we begin to find Christmas gifts for those whom we love and have blessed us during the past year.
However, into the hustle and bustle of all this preparation, we can hear Advent’s familiar hymns like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” We appreciate Advent’s radiant purple color and reflect on the wonderful Scripture readings about lions and lambs sleeping peacefully side by side. Indeed, Advent comes, bringing its brand of thankfulness too. It methodically turns our thoughts to gratefulness for a loving God who seems to have only one purpose: to save His children and bring them home to Him in heaven.
Advent subtly shares again how God clothes our nakedness caused by sin with His shining mercy and everlasting love. It retells the beautifully romantic story of Mary and Joseph, the manger birth of their son Jesus, warmed by the breath of cattle, visited by humble shepherds and serenaded by a majestic heavenly choir – all orchestrated by a persistent God anxious to bring His chosen people home to eternity.
Jesus is God’s perfect gift whose birth clothes us with God’s lasting protection. And Advent encourages us through its story to accept this perfect gift, to listen to His words, and afterwards, to preach His message with our lives. Lastly, Advent’s beauty is that Jesus the perfect gift not only provides long after Advent ends, but its benefits flow every day of the year.
Truly the Advent Season’s hallmark is gratefulness to our loving God, who is the true reason we celebrate the Christmas Season!
“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.”