Thoughts of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2023  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:47
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The Holidays can be hard.

Lets stop for a moment and just recognize this truth with empathy and grace. Families are not always safe places for people. Sometimes gatherings become a reminder of what or who is not sitting at the table.

Joy and thanksgiving are not natural.

Yes every person can experience and express these but I am starting to believe this is not “common” nor “natural”. What is natural for many of us, including myself is to be the opposite. Upset, critical, entitled, ungrateful, focusing on what is missing and not on what is present.

The lack of joy, gentleness, kindness, thanksgiving & generosity is a Gospel issue.

Friends, this is not just some “add” on aspect of being a Christian. People are leaving the church and sometimes Jesus because we lack these things. I have had conversations this week which has re-affirmed this truth.

We must be “in the Lord”.

As we open this passage this morning the main idea is all these things happen “in the Lord”. Joy is not an internal thing, it is a response to Jesus. Joy can be found when things are hard because we can look to someone higher and outside ourselves—The Lord!

Joy & thanksgiving grow in community.

Though at times we want to isolate and be alone; there is time for this, we cannot forget the power of a good community.

Thanksgiving can happen because Jesus is coming soon.

We do not know when but his return helps to not despair in the midst of trials. We have a future if we are “in Christ”.

Prayer is key.

Now verse 6 is a verse that we easily can miss the importance of the historical context of the letter to the Christians of Philippi. Yes it is true that when we are anxious we should pray being thankful we have a resource and person big enough to handle all things. We may even be reminded of Jesus’ words about “do not worry about what you will eat, wear, etc” in Matthew. However, in so doing we miss more of what Paul is saying.
This anxiety is a direct result of persecution and a culture which is fighting against the church. A better reminder of the words of Jesus would be in Matthew 10.19 and the role of the peace of Christ upon them.

Jesus’ peace will guard all of us.

This is a military word.

Look for and think about the good.

We need to change our thinking. Not all of the world is bad and evil. There is some good things.

Live out joy, thanksgiving and gentleness—in essence live out the Gospel.

We cannot just think our way through life.
The role of Linus in Charlie Brown.
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