Enter His gates with [a]thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
There’s so much hustle, bustle, and excitement amongst the staff for the upcoming holidays. You feel it too, don’t you? It’s so funny though, working in the counseling room in the midst of this excitement, I’m confronted with the flip side of holiday excitement. Broken marriages, complicated blended families, and loss of loved ones, make it difficult to celebrate in this season. It’s easy to want to skip the holidays all together. With my own Dad’s unexpected death on Thanksgiving Day 10 years ago, I can totally identify with the desire to curl up in a ball and skip the whole week.
Today, however, I have been reminded of a simple yet profound truth (or maybe a couple of them that seem to run together). It’s fairly easy to be thankful when everything is good, but thankfulness is even more powerful when we are thankful in the midst of tragedy. Celebration is easy when you have all the people around you that you want to have around, but celebration is even more powerful when we can do it in the face of loneliness and missing loved ones.
Consider Jesus: even knowing he would be facing arrest the very next day, Jesus called all his friends together to CELEBRATE the Passover feast. Many of the Jewish festivals were established out of adversity, as a remembrance of God’s promises. God’s promises are true even when the circumstances around us don’t necessarily line up.
The enemy knows the power of thankfulness and celebration so he will try to keep us from those very things. Being thankful is always powerful, but imagine how much more damage we do to enemy camp when we choose thankfulness and celebration—especially when they aren’t easy or natural.