Views From the Back Pew
It’s so hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already here. This has always been my favorite holiday; when I was younger, it was because my family all got together. We would go quail hunting and deer hunting. All the cousins would make it to my grandparents, and we had good food and our annual football game out in the front yard. I don’t get to see my cousins on Thanksgiving anymore, but we get to spend the day with our kids and now grandkids, making our own memories and, of course, eating and napping. This Thanksgiving we will carry on a tradition that comes from my wife’s family that started with her grandparents, one that her dad made a point to always do, and now it has become important for us to continue. That is the tradition of going around the table before we eat and everyone telling something that they are thankful for. When I first became part of the family, it was always a little bit awkward for me. I never really knew what to say. Now, it’s probably more difficult than the first time I did it because I have so much to be thankful for. That’s the case for most all of us; we have much to be thankful for in our lives. Our problem is we don’t always recognize where those things that we are giving thanks for come from, at least not at the time we receive them.
I guess it’s maybe due to our sinfulness as humans, but we don’t always like to give credit where credit is due. We tend to think that our good fortune is all because of something we’ve done. But, as James puts it in chapter 1 verse 17 of his epistle, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” God gives us everything we need, both spiritually and physically. This is the same God who created everything we read about in Genesis 1, and this is the same God who sent His Son to be the light of the world. That is what we can be most thankful for, the Son. In John we read about how He came to be our light. John 1:1-5 tells us, “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Just think about that; Jesus was there in the beginning, and He came to be our light in this world. He is our advocate, the one who was given as an offering on our behalf. We did nothing to earn that kind of love, but He did it nonetheless. What a wonderful blessing we were given: we were set free from sin through His willingness to die on the cross for us. Have you ever had someone who was willing to do something for you? What about willing to die for you? He did.
While we gather around our tables this week to eat some turkey and dressing, or whatever you might have for your meal, let’s take time to remember the things that we have to be thankful for: family, friends, our health, and homes. But, also remember the one that made them possible, and remember that God is always there for you and will always provide for you. While you are going down that list of things that you have to be thankful for, don’t forget about the main one, Jesus. Without Him, we wouldn’t have the blessing of an eternal life in heaven, and that’s a pretty big reason to be thankful. If you are living in darkness today because you don’t know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then I hope you will reach out for help. I pray that you will move from the darkness and get to know the one who is the light. I hope everyone enjoys their week, gets to eat plenty of turkey, and has the best time with family. Please take time to remember our troops, as so many of them can’t be with their families, and let’s be thankful for
them and all that they do for us. Pray for those who might be lost, alone, struggling needing the Lord. Please know that I am thankful for all of you and the chance to spread the gospel, and I pray that everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving. May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Bryan Tucker, Minister
Okemah Church of Christ