Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thanksgiving and Preparing Him Room

Thanksgiving, you still hold my heart. I love your festive and merry counterpart, but I really do appreciate you. I love how you come first, before the hustle and bustle. You are so unassuming, merely asking that we enjoy and feast and give thanks. Thanksgiving, you are easy. 

Why do so many of us skip over it, and fly right to Christmas? I have long had this nagging feeling that I can’t properly do Christmas without my Thanksgiving paving the way. It’s not about the turkey and the pie, though those are lovely. It’s about the heart.

My daughter has been playing Joy to the World daily on our piano. I love the sound of her small voice as she plays, with the simplicity of the melody filling our small home. As she plays I seem to find myself stuck on one line: “let every heart prepare him room.” 

I think a major part of preparing room for Christ in me comes by way of Thanksgiving. I can’t fully receive Christ without gratitude paving the way. Gratitude preps the soil of my hardened heart to welcome the greatest of all gifts-God in the flesh, Christ incarnate. Practicing gratitude opens the door to receive; to enter fully into the miracle of Christmas. 

So let’s think about Christmas, by all means, we should. But let’s just prepare room in our hearts first.

There are dangers in overlooking thankfulness. Gratitude puts us in a place to receive, and receive well. In her book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp observes that whenever Jesus did a miracle, he gave thanks first. If we skip past that, I fear our hearts will get muddled and busy with the season. Thanksgiving properly grounds us for Christmas, or Christ coming, advent, and Christ in us. To overlook thankfulness opens us up for bitterness, discontent and stress. It gives us peace to count our blessings and the gifts in our lives. Thanksgiving reminds us that God is good, even when our lives are sour and despairing. Thanksgiving, giving thanks, causes us to say that even though this life is hard and often fraught with bitterness, God is still good. 

Just yesterday Ann said this on her blog:

We won’t stop confessing He is good and we won’t stop thanking Him for grace and we won’t stop holding out our hands — and taking His hand. We won’t stop believing that “God is good” is not some trite quip for the good days but a radical defiant cry for the terrible days. 
That “God is good” is not a stale one-liner when all’s  happy but a saving lifeline when all’s hard.

God is good, even when we can’t see any good around us. If, in breezing past Thanksgiving and going straight to lights and mistletoe, we miss that, then we miss much. Preparing room Christ is done in gratitude. We can’t afford to miss that.

1 comment:

  1. i so love to read your wise words Gina, they are grounding, truth and always what i need to hear or 'remember'.


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