Nov 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Priorities



Thanksgiving is on Thursdaaaaaaayyy!!

Am I excited?  Of course!

Am I looking forward to the guests and platefuls of delicious food?  Definitely!

Am I disgusted that we have flipped this celebration completely backwards?  *sigh*  Yes.  Very.

Just like every other holiday, it seems like we have forgotten the point.  The day to celebrate Jesus' birth has turned into a day to celebrate ourselves.  Easter, when we should be rejoicing that He has risen from the grave, has been covered in chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs.  And now thanksgiving, a day spent in praising God's blessings upon us, has turned into a day for stuffing our stomachs until we feel sick.

It's terrible.  How could we have forgotten the whole point?

Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks.  It's a day to praise God for all that He has given us.  But somehow we, in the 21st century, have turned it completely around.  If you ask someone what they are looking forward to this week, they will most likely comment on the vast amounts of food awaiting them. Yet do they mention how thankful they are?  Or are they even thankful in the first place?  When Thanksgiving comes our way, we forget all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us so generously and merely take it for granted.  Instead, we often focus on friends, family, and food.

Are friends, family, and food wrong?  Certainly not!  Food is absolutely necessary for survival, and family and friends are wonderful and important parts of our life.  But it is also definitely true that we can make them more important than they should be.  What is #1 in your life?  Can others clearly see that it is #1 in your life?

I realize that you already understand what Thanksgiving is.  We have all heard about the first Thanksgiving...how the pilgrims celebrated with their Native American friends and worshiped God for His blessings.  We already know what this celebration should look like.  But don't you think that we could all use a reminder?

"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving." -Psalm 69:30

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" -Philippians 4:4

"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Even a secular dictionary described Thanksgiving with the right mindset... "a day set apart for giving thanks to God."  Hmm...how ironic that Dictionary.com gets it right when we so often get it wrong.

This week, I propose a challenge to you.  Instead of focusing on ourselves, let's make a difference.  Let's use this Thanksgiving celebration to honor God.  Let's remember Who our #1 should be and be diligent at actually living out our beliefs.

The challenge is simple.  I want to wake up every morning with a prayer of thanksgiving on my lips.  I want to live each day sending up prayers of gratitude to heaven.  I want to use the blessings God has given me to encourage others through simple complements, random acts of kindness, and spending time with them.  I want this week to point to God, not myself.

I would love if you would join me.  Do you also want to make a difference this Thanksgiving celebration?

How are YOU going to point others to Christ instead of yourself?  Comment Below!

22 comments:

  1. Yes, it's sad to see how holidays have turned into a big marketing and self-serving endeavor.. And although we don't have Thanksgiving in Australia, I want to join you in giving thanks to God for everything He gives, and taking opportunities to point back to Him. We can never thank Him enough.

    And, I'm so behind on reading and commenting lately, but I wanted to tell you I really appreciated your previous post on getting writing inspiration too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's heartbreaking how much the world has turned from God to serve self. =( And it is so easy to fall into the same patterns without even realizing it. Thank you for joining me in this challenge! Thanksgiving should constantly be in our hearts...I hope that this proves to not be a one-week thing but something that we daily live out. (similar to your 31 hugs challenge) =)

      Thanks, Jessica. =) I am so behind on the blogging world as well...but I will read and comment on all the posts one day. ;)

      Delete
  2. Such great thoughts, Hosanna! I definitely have thought about this recently, and will try to join you in this challenge!

    This is so inspiring <3

    With love and all joy,
    Allie D.
    www.alliesblogdesigns.blogspot.com
    www.friendlovesatalltimes.blogspot.com
    www.sincerelyallied.blogspot.com
    www.spreadingmyjoy.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Allie! I'm excited that you are joining us in the challenge. =) Being thankful really brightens up your day! Have a wonderful thanksgiving. ♥

      Delete
  3. Good grief, I've been seriously behind on commenting on your posts lately. Sorry!

    This was such a great post, Hosanna! I always enjoy reading what you write :). You're so inspiring, and you shine God's light so brightly! YOU'RE AMAZING, GIRL. *hugs*

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *hugs back* Thank you, Savannah! I have been behind as well, so no worries. =)

      I'm very. very thankful that you were blessed by this post! Being thankful is such a hard quality to live out - unless we practice it every single day. But it truly makes you have so much more joy! I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving with your family today, my friend! ♥

      Delete
  4. YES YES YES THANKSGIVING AND PIE AND FAMILY AND ALL THE AWESOME THINGS. XD
    This was a really great post, Hosanna! 'Let's remember Who our #1 should be and be diligent at actually living out our beliefs.' That sentence stood out to me. Very well-written--also very true! =)
    I would say the way I'm going to try and point to Jesus this week is to lay down my life. I need to sacrifice my time to give to my family and friends, and I need to really be more devoted and diligent in using my spare time to glorify God!
    Happy (early) Thanksgiving, dear friend! =)
    -Ariel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh YES! That is definitely a huge struggle, Ariel! Laying down our lives for Jesus...it's probably the hardest part of being a Christian. *sigh* But we CAN do it, with His help! =) Like usual, you mentioned the exact same things I have been convicted of in my own life. Hehehe. Arrrrriel... =)

      Have an awesome thanksgiving!!! Enjoy the pie and family and friends and turkey and remember who is your #1!! =) I'm thankful for you! ♥

      Delete
    2. It really is a big struggle...even in the little things, which are most of the time the hardest. But I've read before that laying down your life and serving in 'small' ways is similar to push-ups--they seem insignificant when you do only one of them, but as time goes on, and you continue doing the small hard things, it builds up your spiritual muscles quite a bit! Heehee... ;D
      Will do! I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving as well! Love yooouuu!!! ♥
      -Ariel

      Delete
    3. Good analogy. ;) I have been doing push-ups, so I can really relate with that. The small things can hurt the worst. We make excuses to why it's okay to skip them just that one time...but we need to be living out our faith every single day - giving up our rights for His. It definitely builds up our "spiritual muscles." ;)

      Love you too! ♥

      Delete
  5. Like Jessica said, we don't have Thanksgiving in Australia. And though we do have it in Canada (on a different date) I think it must be a lot less of a big thing in the part where I lived. And in Cambodia it isn't a thing at all except for with the missionaries and expats.

    But as expressed in the verses you referenced, Hosanna, we are told to give thanks in all circumstances and to rejoice always. So a blog post about giving thanks to God is always relevant and appropriate. Thank you for driving my thoughts towards these things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, thanksgiving is something that should always be in our heart, Jordy! I think every country (including Cambodia!) should have a day to just praise God for what He has done for us. =) But, as Christians, we should be simply overflowing with joy and gratitude. The world shouldn't have to tell us that this day is one to be thankful... we should naturally just be full of praise!

      I hope you had a wonderful day, even if you didn't celebrate. =) You are a blessing to me. ♥♥

      Delete
    2. Agreed. Holidays and festivals were a big part of the Old Testament laws because they helped point the Israelites back to God's faithfulness.

      Thank you, my dear friend. You're a blessing to me too - such a blessing! Praise God!

      Delete
    3. They definitely were! As I read about the different holidays ordained in the Bible, I wished that some of them were still commonly practiced. (they might be common in Israel, but I'm not certain) God created so many different days to lighten the mood, give days off to hard working people, and overall remind them to praise Him. Wouldn't it be such fun to continue those traditions, keeping Jesus at the center of every celebration?

      Delete
    4. I wonder what it would take to do that, and whether or not God intended it to continue (at least to an extent) in the Church...

      Delete
    5. I would say that there are some days that God intended for us to observe, such as the Sabbath. I do believe that the early church observed certain days that we for some reason have just stopped thinking about, though. I do think there are some days where we should just take time off and praise God, but I also think we need to think how it applies to today. Taking the Sabbath as an example, I think that when we observe the Sabbath, we don't need to stop work completely, such as they did in the Old Testament. But I think it might be an interesting thing to look back and see the festivals and things the people of the early church celebrated, and see how we can incorporate some of the themes into our lives! =)
      -Ariel

      Delete
    6. Interesting thoughts...many of the celebrations (especially observing the Sabbath) seem to be overlooked or undermined today. I do see how some might not be very relevant to us, however certain ones are really important reminds - like the Passover. I don't know if it is wrong not to celebrate them, but I would love to take the time to research and keep some of the holidays with my family. What a fun way to worship God together!

      Ariel, the definition of "Sabbath" and how we should act during that day varies from person to person. What do you mean by "we don't need to stop work completely"? I have some personal convictions about the Sabbath, but I'm wondering where you come from. =)

      Delete
    7. Hey! I'm going to jump in. :) For me personally I don't have the conviction that I shouldn't do any work on the Sabbath. In the OT you could be killed for even picking up one stick. That is definitely not true in the NT. This website here I thought was super good and Biblical: https://gotquestions.org/Sabbath-keeping.html It has a lot of verses and things that show that the Sabbath is not a command for us in the NT, but it is totally good to have a day to especially have time with the Lord! I'd love to hear you guys' thoughts on that article, etc!

      Delete
    8. @Hosanna: Yeah, I do think the Passover is something that could still be relevant for us today! That's something that the early church celebrated, right? I'd figure the example that the early church set is one that that we should follow. =)
      What I mean by 'we don't need to stop work completely' is that I don't think we need to not work at all--like not do any household chores or that sort of thing. I think God meant it to be a day of rest for sure, a time when we aren't rushing around from one thing to the next, not stopping to simply worship Him and remember what He has done. I think if we have tons of stuff planned on Sunday which could distract us from the true purpose of the Sabbath, we should try and move it to another day if we can, so that Sunday is especially reserved for worship, not running around from one activity to the next. =)
      @Hannah: Ooh, I haven't looked at that article yet, but I'll have my mom see if I can read it! =)
      -Ariel

      Delete
    9. I don't observe the Sabbath as it was originally intended to be observed. Saturday, the seventh day of the week, isn't a day of rest for me. However, I do believe there is true value in it. After all, God made the Sabbath for man (Mark 2:27).

      I think that Isaiah chapter 56 refutes the mindset that the Sabbath isn't important to God. For sure, Old Testament practices such as the Sabbath were just shadows of things to come (Colossians 2:16-17), but they are shadows nonetheless, and I think they can tell us a lot about what the Christian's life should look like.

      For me, me Sabbath-based practices essentially look like this: Sunday is my day of rest. I allow myself to sleep in unless doing so would mean I wouldn't get my morning time with God. I meet with Christian brothers and sisters to worship God and study His Word. Late mornings and afternoons vary, but I usually help mum and dad with a Sunday school program, read my Bible some more, read Christian living books and/or spend time with family and friends. The biggest way in which Sunday life looks different to the other days of the week is that I don't turn on my computer. So much of my other days is spent looking at the screen, so disconnecting myself from electronics is a way that I can be intentional about refocusing on Jesus, first and foremost, especially since I've allowed myself to get caught up in other things throughout the last week.

      Delete
    10. This is a very interesting topic that I didn't intend to start, but who cares? ;) I have enjoyed reading your thoughts, even if I may not agree with them completely.

      Jordy, I think you summed it up quite nicely. The Sabbath is definitely a day that was created by God in the book of Genesis for our own good. To put it off as not applicable seems very wrong. I haven’t taken the time to intensely study the Sabbath celebration like it was in the Old Testament…but I think many of the Pharisees and other religious rulers in Jesus’ time turned it into a legalistic day of rules. Do this, don’t do that etc. Today some of those rules might not apply, but we still need to keep the day holy and honoring to God. It definitely varies according to how you are convicted. I, like Jordy, try to stay off the computer because it tends to take your eyes off Jesus. I also avoid fictitious, “for fun” books and work. (work meaning chores that I should have done earlier in the week) It’s not wrong to wash the dishes or sweep the floor, but it is very important to keep our eyes on Jesus throughout the day. I actually haven’t thought about this topic much before…I think I need to check out my own Sunday activities and compare them to the Word. =)

      Delete
    11. Hey, Jordy and Hosanna, that is a really good idea to take time off from media on Sunday! I should start doing that! =)
      -Ariel

      Delete

I am eager to read any comments from my readers, but please remember to keep them clean and uplifting! Any inappropriate posts will be deleted.
I respond to comments, so please check back! =)
Thank you for commenting! ♥