CHRISTMAS THOUGHTS OF THANKSGIVING

Here is part of the transcript of a message I gave a few years ago, in a church in New England. I wanted to share this with you as close to exactly between Thanksgiving and Christmas as I could …

At the time, I had left the legal department (set for life) of a “large New England Electric Utility” in order to focus on my Biblical studies, and my degree. The job was 60 miles away … one way. Yes, I left the legal department, set for life, to clean toilets at McDonalds … Remember, “It’s not the job that brings honor to the man, but the man who brings honor to the job.” The reason I mention this is because it came up during the message … including the fact that, at that time, Carol was working in the registration department at the hospital … where, at that time, I was a regular visitor …

Good morning. Praise the Lord. And, if I may…Merry Christmas…The title of our presentation is “Christmas Thoughts of Thanksgiving.” I’d like to share with you a few items on my Christmas list. My Christmas list this year is different…It’s more of a Thanksgiving list…Not Thanksgiving…but Thanks…Giving. Instead of stuff that I want…it has stuff listed that I already have. Things I’ve already received; things that I’m grateful for. I’m thankful for how God has blessed me all year. It’s funny how we seem to be more reflective on holidays. How it is almost an obligation to think about how God has blessed us, once a certain holiday arrives. You know, maybe that’s why we keep having holidays…so we’ll keep on remembering… 

Even though it’s been just one year since last Christmas, it seems I’ve gotten older by more than one year. I’ve been to the doctor and the hospital more times in the past year than in my whole life combined…Let’s see…I haven’t been to the hospital to have tests done…to have blood drawn…in…Let’s see…just over 26 hours…I’m thankful for doctors…for medicine…for hospitals…and, yes…I’m thankful, guys…for nurses…. +

Before I leave this subject, I should also add that I am thankful for the beautiful, friendly, and efficient staff that handles the registration at the hospital and at the lab….I am thankful that Jesus Christ is still in the…healing…business! This year, Jesus Himself, personally, has healed me of individual lumps that I had in my lymph nodes, one under each arm. This is the same type of illness that has wreaked death and havoc in my family…most recently, just this past year. Then, I had a lump under my chin that was huge …Here we go again with this lymph node thing, and lumps…Well, God reached down and healed that too…Let me say again, that I am thankful for the fact that Jesus Christ is still in the healing business!

Then, there have been incidents at work. My third day on the job, I found out that a box cutter will cut more than boxes. And, I discovered that when you cut the fleshy part of your palm that it bleeds really bad. I prayed that Jesus would stop the bleeding, and he did. Something else that Carol doesn’t know about, happened this past Thursday at work. We have an area called “the corral” where the trash dumpsters are completely enclosed by concrete and brick walls. These walls are eight feet high and 15 feet wide. A tractor-trailer backed into the corral, and knocked one of the walls completely down. Of course, the wall fell inward. I had just walked out of the corral, and, and if it had happened two minutes earlier, I wouldn’t be here today.
I’m thankful for God’s protective hand.

I’m also thankful for the other people that I’ve prayed for, that Jesus has healed.
Yeah, Christmas is ok, but it’s been a great year.

I changed jobs this year. I prayed for certain hours, and I prayed that my new job would be no more than 15 miles away. My new job was exactly the hours I prayed for, and from my driveway to work is exactly 15.0 miles. This Christmas, I have a lot to be thankful for…and it doesn’t revolve around the holiday. It revolves around what Jesus has done for me personally.

I work with a man that is both deaf and mute. I am thankful that I am able to see, to hear, and to talk. I have realized this year just how much I have taken for granted.

I am thankful for electricity. If this was 60 years ago and someone said, “I’m thankful for electricity,” the whole crowd would have stood up and cheered.

I’m thankful for running water. That same 60 years ago, “running water” meant that someone ran down to the well. And ran back with a bucket full.

I am thankful for hot water. I can remember when, growing up, we didn’t have hot, running water. I took a hot shower just this morning. I liked it so much that I may take another one next week.

I am thankful for automobiles. And, the fact that you can get in your car and travel from state to state…literally where ever you want to go, and not have to go through check-points as you enter into every different state. And, how about gasoline…even at the cost we pay for it today, some of us remember when gasoline-and a lot of other things-were rationed…you could only buy a certain amount…on certain days…if you had the right coupons.

I am thankful for microwave ovens, and telephones, and a hundred other things we take for granted every day.
Things like grocery stores. Department stores. And, how about mail delivery?

I’m grateful for the things that I already have…I’m grateful for the things that I came in with…

When I look back over the years, from my earliest childhood memories to just last year, Christmas is always a time that I remember. For those of your who don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope that there are special family times that will stand out just as much. It’s important, because these special family times are the times that will continue to stand out for the rest of your lives. I was raised “without a lot of stuff.” And, maybe I don’t have that many good memories about growing up. But, what good memories I do have, are memories of Christmas. I would hate to have those memories taken away. I find, that so many years later, I don’t remember so much what we didn’t have. I remember…yes, even cherish, what we did have.

I celebrate Christmas: To me, it is a holiday…it’s a day off from work…plus, in one week, I get another day off for New Year’s! And yes, I look forward to that all year. Christmas is, for some families, the only time they are all together in one place, except for funerals.
In today’s family lifestyles, how often do families get together to even enjoy a family meal together…at the same table? So, this “Christmas” is maybe the one time all year when families get together and just “be with each other.” It is the one time that they all look at each other and say, “Ya know, this is cool. I really do love my family. I really do love my home. This is really cool.” You know, I can’t help but think that Jesus thinks that’s pretty cool, too.
I find that what’s wrong with Christmas has more to do with what’s wrong with me-my attitude.

I believe that if “Christmas” was done away with, the church would still set aside one day to celebrate/recognize His birth. I believe that if it’s ok to celebrate the birthday of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, it’s ok to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. Without going back to last year’s Christmas presentation, it strikes me that it’s ok to celebrate Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays on a day that they weren’t actually born.

I believe that the mountains, the oceans, the great works of God’s hands that surround us are beautiful. However, I believe that the greatest work that God does, the greatest miracle that He performs, is the change He makes in people’s lives. The greatest miracle that God performs is when He takes the rottenest of sinners, saves them, changes them, and makes them a saint. The greatest works of God surround us today. They are represented in every pew. And, none of this would have been possible had not God Himself come to earth as a man, born as a baby, and died as the Savior of the world. He is alive today, evidenced by the changed lives that surround us here today.

I take you back to a conversation that I had last week with a lady I work with. When she complained about not having any decorations for Christmas in the store, I stated, coldly, that “It would just be something that we would have to put up and then back take down”…As we discussed Christmas, and I was giving her the negatives, she said things like,
“It doesn’t matter what day we celebrate it on, as long as we celebrate it”… (That sounded so familiar)…
Me: Well, it’s just another day.
As she threatened to admonish me with her “Christmas Sermon,” she would not let me walk away until I told her I was just joking. As I walked away, I said:
Me: “The world has taken it over.”
Theresa: “The world has taken over a lot of things-that doesn’t mean it has to take us over.”
Me: “I’ll use that Sunday.”

Blessings to you, and to your family,
Richard. Vincent.Rose.
Our Christian Gift Store
Our YouTube Channel
Our Facebook Page

 

 

Advertisements

7 responses to “CHRISTMAS THOUGHTS OF THANKSGIVING

  1. Waу cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you pennіng thіs write-up and
    also the rest of the website is very good.

    Like

  2. Hey! Someone іnn my Facebook group shared this ωebsite with us so I came to look it over.
    I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmaгking and will be tweeting this
    too my followers! Excellent blog аnd οutstanding design.

    Like

  3. Saved as a favorіte, I really like your website!

    Like

  4. I stumbled upon your blog internet site on google and look a few of the early articles. Continue to keep the very good work. I just additional up your Rss to my personal MSN Media Reader. Looking for forward to looking at more from you later on!

    Like

  5. Agreed, the holiday season is not like it used to be. Thanksgiving used to be just that, a day of giving thanks, set aside especially for those who “forget” to give thanks on a daily basis. Even in the darkest days, when we feel alone, sick, poor, etc., we can find something to be thankful for…like Jesus Christ and his redemption of man! How blessed are we? We are used to having so many conveniences every day, that we don’t give it a second thought, we even get angry when we have to be without them if only for a few hours. I will not, and wish no one else would, shop on a holiday. I believe they are set aside to give us the opportunity to spend time reflecting or to spend time with loved ones or those who could use an “adopted family.” It’s sad that the meaning of holidays are being glossed over in exchange for “a good deal” at the local store. Shame on those who act in a ridiculous manner in the name of a good sale! Whenever I’m flipping through the channels and come upon an episode of “The Walton’s,” I stop and watch for a bit and think that life was harder back then, but better in some ways, perhaps? Thanks for your reply, I guess you are not the only one with a lot to say on occasion!

    Like

  6. Hi Janine:
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write.
    I really admire what you wrote about how important the holidays really are, as, for many of us, this is the only time we would get to see family. If it weren’t for the holidays, we may only see a large gathering of our family at much sadder events ….
    Plus, I agree, any time which we can set aside to just thank God for what we have … and to acknowledge that we would not have it without His blessings, is a great opportunity …
    Jaded? I think that the term, applied to my feelings, may be best described as “disappointed” into what certain holidays have become … it bothers me that we seem to jump over Thanksgiving, and move directly into “the Christmas season.” It has also not escaped my attention that the two biggest “shopping” holidays seem to be Halloween and Christmas .. right … a separate story there …
    The main idea continues to be, to not wait until a certain day or event to offer thanks … there are so many things/blessings we enjoy every day, which we take for granted … including, yes, me.
    Even today, as I pray, first thing in the morning, I try to always just thank God for electricity, a warm home (-10-at least, tonight), for being sheltered, and for running water … I really made it a point to always remember the “running water” part, after losing water on a Sunday night, just a couple of weeks ago.

    Also: My next post, in a couple of days, will again deal with giving thanks, and Thanksgiving …
    Blessings to you, and your family,
    R.V.R.

    Like

  7. It’s funny, you sound so thankful in one breath and quite jaded in another. I think is good that we set aside a specific day to celebrate Jesus’ birth, for some that’s one of the few days in a year that they might stop running around and thank God for what they have and acknowledge none of it would be possible without God. We’re all human and need reminding occasionally. And if we gather with family only for the holidays, then thank God we are given the day off to do it. If there was no celebration of holidays, many would go years without seeing those who are so important.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s