Traditions are a large part of many of our holiday celebrations. An absolute essential for some homes is to halt all activity to watch the march of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The ritual in other homes will involve football and the riotous cheering or jeering as favorite teams either win or lose.
While the Macy’s Day Parade, the game of football, and other long-held traditions can be good, they are as listless as your turkey-stuffed grandpa when he crashes on the sofa, if they fail to observe the Golden Rule of Thanksgiving.
The rule is not a third piece of whip cream-covered pumpkin pie: it is the peace of God and letting it rule your heart.
In a world of trials and tragedies, it is the peace of God that will carry you through your personal times of heartache and turmoil. A key principle of the Golden Rule is the jewel of thanksgiving. Paul spoke of this in one of his letters (Colossians 3:14-17):
- Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . . and be thankful (3:15).
- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly . . . singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (3:16).
- Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (3:17).
When the peace of Christ is ruling in your heart, it becomes the umpire that manages the game of life. When this peace is joined with the giving of thanks, worry-filled thoughts are refocused on the blessings of God.
Many of the Psalms focus on the blessings of God, and they are full of expressions of thanksgiving:
- Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things (107:8-9).
- The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him (28:7).
- Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever (106:1).
Whatever your traditions may be, I encourage you to pause at some point in your celebration to focus your thoughts more on what God has given and less on what the world has taken, and give thanks to Him.