This past week, Chanukah and Thanksgiving met; yet one event also graced this week of celebration; Advent kissed us in the midst of Chanukah, both celebrations express our longing for the Light to come. A kiss of thankfulness—I do not believe it is an accidental encounter.
In Chanukah we celebrate the precious oil; though they didn’t have enough for eight days; they chose to honor God and thought it better to light the golden Lampstand regardless, and God honored their act of faith. One more truth remains in the Chanukah celebration we Gentiles take for granted; at the time of the rededication of the temple, the Devil crafted yet again a plot to wipe the Jewish people from the earth. No Jews—no Messiah. We can celebrate the Christology in this blessed event—Jesus Christ the Light of World; the one in which we hope. The Maccabees overthrew the plot and rededicated the temple, the very temple that spoke of the Temple to come—the Messiah. This alone should be enough for us, Jew and Gentile alike, to throw a thanksgiving feast worthy of the King of Glory.
Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.
The first Advent has come, fulfilling all that the Old Covenant promised. Sunday began the Advent season celebrating that fulfilled promise, Jesus Christ, born in a stable to humble Jewish parents. His only coronation audience- cows, sheep, donkeys, and a few frightened shepherds. His glory laid aside to dwell among us—Immanuel.
The first Advent candle to light is the ‘hope’ or ‘prophecy candle; reflecting the hope we hold in our hearts—He will come. We hope in His coming, the promise that dripped like honey off the lips of our Savior, His prophetic promise that He will return. He came once; He shall come again.
Three separate celebrations in a week saturated in thanksgiving. We began with the Feast of Lights celebrating the Light of the World and end it with the beginning of the waiting season of His precious birth; and sandwiched between is Thanksgiving, a time to remember all that we are thankful for; all the Lord has done for us. It is time to cultivate a thankful heart. Thankfulness does not just appear in our hearts, we have to cultivate it, practice it. Thankfulness does not always come easy, in the face of hurt, loss and disappointment. Pain and hurt screams to drown out any hope of joy, yet we have the Light of the world and a journey to a manger, to break any threats of darkness. God is so faithful to us, His faithfulness should rest atop our thanksgiving list…If you can think of nothing to be thankful for…Jesus was beaten and bruised to redeem us because His love for us was too great, He could not even fathom spending an eternity apart from you, He could more easily fathom the Cross, if He does nothing else for me—I am forever awed at this act of love.
Cultivate a thankful heart;
It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night. Psalm 92:1-2
This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100
O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. Psalm 95: 1-6
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Psalm 107:1
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endurethforever. Psalm 136:1
O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness. Isaiah 25:1
Do you not think it the devil’s work to steal the joy from so many during a season that should bring us such joy?
Joy to the World, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
Thanksgiving brings joy.
Thanksgiving may be over, but our thanksgiving to Him should not rest. Sundown on Wednesday marks the last night of Chanukah, but we should not cease searching for the Light of World to give us light on our path and to break through the darkness in our lives. Twenty-one more days lay before us, a path to Christmas morning. Seek for the Holy Child every day until He comes. Cultivate thanksgiving, find joy, feel His peace and keep your eyes on Jesus. For He is why we celebrate.
In His Grace,