The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live . . .And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you. . .Deuteronomy 8:1-2
This is the season of the year (actually, the “season” starts in early October) when social media, blogs, articles in magazines, take on the yearly battle of — celebration.
To celebrate or not to celebrate
How to celebrate
sacred or secular, meaningful or fun, or both . . .
My “thoughts” concerning the holidays, especially the last 4 years or so, have focused mostly on what is physically and emotionally possible. . .
not very romantic, traditional, spiritual (or any other modifiers you English majors may want to insert)
This year, I have been thinking, there is so much “reason for the season” and “make the holidays holy” and “don’t squeeze the fun out of the season” —
But God actually did give instructions to His people on how He wanted them to conduct their festivals, and we can learn from His Word what God considers important and meaningful.
“Remember” is a key theme of the festivals. Parents were to tell the Passover story as they celebrated; when they took in the harvest they had a family camp out to remember their wilderness wandering. It was very much a family time; and a time of generosity– farmers were to purposely leave produce unharvested around the edges of their fields so the poor and the sojourner could glean; each of the festivals were to include men, women, children, male and female servants, sojourner, widow, orphan (in other words, look out and make sure no one is forgotten during the festival)
Please do not misunderstand. I am NOT saying go back and make sure every holiday looks like it did in Leviticus and Deuteronomy! Nor am I saying beat people over the head with either you are sinning if you have a Christmas tree or go shopping on Thanksgiving Day — or you are being a Pharisee and a killjoy if you don’t go shopping or have the most tacky Christmas lights on the block.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:1-4
Why all this rambling and remembering stuff on a gratitude post?
Because this time of year has the potential for gratitude and thankfulness to actually disappear in the face of busy-ness and competition and the need for perfection.
And that is NOT what God intended.
So, for me, the holiday season must be honed down to the very basics, and then see what I have the energy to add in.
Remembering God’s provision and His supply; the blessing of family and friends; His goodness. Sharing a meal is a great opportunity to include family and friends.
Remembering God’s goodness through generosity — with gifts, with food, with time.
Remember what God has done, i.e. the reason we celebrate in the first place. I have a Christmas tree (actually, my husband has the tree–he decorates it and the grandkids ‘help’) and I have nativity sets (yes, multiples). We read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and Twas the Night Before Christmas. I don’t go “Black Friday” shopping because the idea of being out in crowds for any length of time is impossible for me. Sometimes we have a big meal on or around Thanksgiving Day, and sometimes the table is crowded and sometimes it is just family. Christmas is the same way.
I don’t send out Christmas cards anymore. I do virtually all of my Christmas shopping online, and I even do the majority of it in late summer and early Fall. Every thing I do must go through the lens of “how much energy will this require?”
I want to remember what God is doing and what He has done. I want to remember His goodness. I want to remember His blessings.
I want to be grateful!