Thanksgiving Afterthoughts, Christmas Beforethoughts
Last week I flew to Maine to be with my parents for Thanksgiving. I got to see a little snowfall, eat some homemade Needhams, recover from a head cold, and go to a church service on a blustery Wednesday night. My father led the singing and I croaked along with my nasal, froggy voice and heard a great sermon from Pastor White about Christ's death on the cross, and how the people who were so zealous about keeping the law broke so many Jewish laws pertaining to the Passover and the Sabbath in order to see Christ crucified.
That message reminded me of the recent messages spoken by Pastor Schaller about how the Law in man's hands and hearts can only produce death - the absence of the life of God - condemnation, and shame. I was very thankful on that windy Wednesday evening that we have a good and gracious God who fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law so that we only have to exercise simple faith in the Finished Work of Christ to be acceptable in God's eyes and to be heirs of eternal life.
This morning we sand the song, "Blood of Jesus Be My All" in chapel and the words "all my hope and righteousness" in reference to Christ's blood resonated within me. We are thankful for a God who sent His only Son to be born as a helpless baby for the sole purpose of fulfilling a promise God had made long before to redeem the human race. Thanksgiving is behind us, and soon Christmas will be upon us, and these are the thoughts that I want our children to hide in their hearts - that we have so much to be thankful for because of what God has done for us and we have something to look forward to that is eternal.
I think that as I grow older, my Christmas list grows shorter. I was hard pressed to list three things for my mother to get me for Christmas. I don't need lots of things. God has provided what I need to get by in this life. My tastes are simple. And when I think about what I really want, it's stuff that cannot be bought. It's answers to prayers for the people I love, for the school where I serve, for the church where I worship, and for myself. I already have the greatest gift of all from the Lord Jesus Christ - salvation and eternal life. I will be with my parents again for Christmas, and that is my gift to myself. I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that God blesses you supernaturally and spectacularly this Christmas far above and beyond what you could ever ask or think.