How will God use You this Thanksgiving?
Do you have special family memories from Thanksgiving? Or do you have family traditions like certain foods you prepare, running in a local charity race or serving at a local food bank?
I have so many wonderful memories of sitting around the dinner table with our family laughing and sharing from our hearts. We would each take a moment to share something we were thankful for over the past year. Of course, being a southern family, we always had traditional turkey and dressing along with a table full of food and desserts. I have to ask, did your mom stuff the turkey or prepare the stuffing on the side?
Since moving away from our families, we often spend our time traveling back to see them. However, I have always admired the families that served at a homeless shelter or invited neighbors without family to dine with them on Thanksgiving. Friendsgiving has become popular with so many families living apart. Whoever you spend Thanksgiving with can end up being your family for the day.
As we reflect on God’s blessings and grace, let’s make the holiday time more than eating a meal or following a tradition. Will you pray with me for God to open the door for us to share our faith? He gives us examples in the Bible of His calling on our lives to share our faith with the next generation and those we come in contact within our daily lives.
In Deuteronomy 6:5-7 God tell us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
If we love the Lord our excitement and passion for Him will shine bright. Those around us will see His presence in us and want to understand why we have peace and joy in the midst of struggles. They will want to experience the hope we have when the world is offering despair. We can be a light with our actions, attitudes and words.
Some of you have difficult family dynamics to deal with during the holidays. Others feel the pressure to provide a perfect holiday meal or family experience. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and ask God to shift our focus. He tell us in Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or, am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
I won’t pretend to understand all you might be dealing with this holiday season, as it may involve illness or grave situations. I do pray God “will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 4:19) While He’s working in your life, those around you will see the hope you have in Jesus and want to understand where you get your strength.
Also, with so much turmoil swirling around in the world, let’s pray for opportunities to share with the next generation. I am reminded of the story in II Timothy 1:5-9 where Paul talks to Timothy about sharing faith from one generation to the next.
“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelled in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. For this reason, I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
Whether it’s Thanksgiving or another time during the holiday season, let’s pray for God to open the door to spend time with unbelieving family or neighbors. He can give us the strength we need to extend grace to the difficult ones. He can give us peace and order our steps, so we don’t get bogged down with meal prep or trying to create a perfect experience. God can give us courage to share the hope we have in Jesus!
So, my prayer for all of us who are followers of Jesus to remember Matthew 5:14-16 during the holiday season….
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
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