Thanksgiving is a Comin'

November 20, 2019

Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

 

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In one week, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving. Who or what are you most thankful for? Are you thankful that family and friends will gather around the table sharing delicious food and funny stories? Are you looking forward to a few days off to enjoy more time outdoors, more time shopping, eating, playing games, or relaxing?

 

This year my family will be traveling to where our oldest daughter, Abby, has moved after her year-long immersion experience in South Africa. This morning, I was reading in my gratitude journal what I’d recorded this time last year when Abby came home for the holidays. The joy and love she brought into our house was absolutely overwhelming and highly contagious. 

 

From the moment we picked Abby up at the airport, after her first 73 days abroad, I could tell that something was different. Something in her soul had shifted. Every other sentence seemed to contain the word LOVE. She loved her host family, the leaders of her team, and the directors who dedicate their lives to building bridges instead of walls. She’d fallen in love with poor and rich children, black and white farmers, highly intelligent leaders and uneducated cooks in the kitchen. Her love of all people reminded me of Jesus. 

 

I recorded in my journal, “Abby’s home and filled with love. THANK YOU GOD!”

 

As Abby and I talked more in the days that followed, she shared a passage from the Bible that had propelled her faith forward in South Africa. These timeless truths compelled her to love like Jesus, and not categorize His children. 

 

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. – Galatians 3:26-29

 

Simply put, God loves all of His children and has no favorites. From Seattle to South Africa, from London to LA, from Cuba to Colorado, God loves us all and calls us His children. We are adopted, chosen, and blessed to belong to God’s family. Can you even imagine a dinner table where every nation, tribe, and language had a seat? I guess that’s what heaven will look like someday.

 

Maybe that’s why Jesus pointed to love as the greatest commandment, what He felt was most important on earth. He knew we’d spend eternity in heaven loving God and others. I suspect He wanted us to practice a little (or a lot) while here on earth.

 

So what does practicing love look like? Think about how love plays out in each of these scenes:

 

Scene #1.

A single mom is nervous to tell her three kids that she can’t afford a turkey this year. They’ll have to eat at McDonald’s because it’s open and cheap. Right then, the doorbell rings and a smiling neighbor hands her a 15lb. turkey saying, “They were on sale and I thought of you.”

 

Scene #2

It’s Thanksgiving day and the hospital is unusually quiet. On the children’s floor, kids nap and dream of going home real soon. Then all of a sudden, the silence is broken by Christmas music and laughter. One of the janitors, dressed up like Santa with a huge smile, bounds into every room singing Joy to the World and gives every child a candy cane.

 

Scene #3

She’s a widow now. Her husband of sixty four years passed away a month ago. She shakes her head in disbelief as she ponders celebrating the holidays without her love. She’ll miss their Thanksgiving traditions, his silly jokes, and their candlelight dinners. Her phone buzzes. It’s her granddaughter texting, “This year Nana, why don’t you stay with me during the holidays. I’d love your help and company.”

 

This Thanksgiving week, you will be given many opportunities to love others. I think we’d all agree that some people are easy to love, while others are much more challenging. You might not see things the way they do, agree with their political views, or approve of their lifestyle. Still… you can choose to love and let go of all that separates you.

 

Love has the power to unite unlikely people when we love like Jesus.

 

If Jesus sat at your dinner table, trekked on a hike with your family, or went shopping with you, who would He include in His love? What words would He choose? Who would He stop for? How would He touch? In what ways would He encourage? 

 

You have Jesus’ Spirit within you. Let His unconditional love flow through you and love all of His children He brings into your path. When you love like Jesus, not only does your soul shift, but you saturate those around with love and joy. This is the kind of love that breaks down barriers. It’s highly contagious!  Practice and give it a try.

 

Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

 

In one week, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving. Who or what are you most thankful for? Are you thankful that family and friends will gather around the table sharing delicious food and funny stories? Are you looking forward to a few days off to enjoy more time outdoors, more time shopping, eating, playing games, or relaxing?

 

This year my family will be traveling to where our oldest daughter, Abby, has moved after her year-long immersion experience in South Africa. This morning, I was reading in my gratitude journal what I’d recorded this time last year when Abby came home for the holidays. The joy and love she brought into our house was absolutely overwhelming and highly contagious. 

 

From the moment we picked Abby up at the airport, after her first 73 days abroad, I could tell that something was different. Something in her soul had shifted. Every other sentence seemed to contain the word LOVE. She loved her host family, the leaders of her team, and the directors who dedicate their lives to building bridges instead of walls. She’d fallen in love with poor and rich children, black and white farmers, highly intelligent leaders and uneducated cooks in the kitchen. Her love of all people reminded me of Jesus. 

 

I recorded in my journal, “Abby’s home and filled with love. THANK YOU GOD!”

 

As Abby and I talked more in the days that followed, she shared a passage from the Bible that had propelled her faith forward in South Africa. These timeless truths compelled her to love like Jesus, and not categorize His children. 

 

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. – Galatians 3:26-29

 

Simply put, God loves all of His children and has no favorites. From Seattle to South Africa, from London to LA, from Cuba to Colorado, God loves us all and calls us His children. We are adopted, chosen, and blessed to belong to God’s family. Can you even imagine a dinner table where every nation, tribe, and language had a seat? I guess that’s what heaven will look like someday.

 

Maybe that’s why Jesus pointed to love as the greatest commandment, what He felt was most important on earth. He knew we’d spend eternity in heaven loving God and others. I suspect He wanted us to practice a little (or a lot) while here on earth.

 

So what does practicing love look like? Think about how love plays out in each of these scenes:

 

Scene #1.

A single mom is nervous to tell her three kids that she can’t afford a turkey this year. They’ll have to eat at McDonald’s because it’s open and cheap. Right then, the doorbell rings and a smiling neighbor hands her a 15lb. turkey saying, “They were on sale and I thought of you.”

 

Scene #2

It’s Thanksgiving day and the hospital is unusually quiet. On the children’s floor, kids nap and dream of going home real soon. Then all of a sudden, the silence is broken by Christmas music and laughter. One of the janitors, dressed up like Santa with a huge smile, bounds into every room singing Joy to the World and gives every child a candy cane.

 

Scene #3

She’s a widow now. Her husband of sixty four years passed away a month ago. She shakes her head in disbelief as she ponders celebrating the holidays with her love? She’ll miss their Thanksgiving traditions, his silly jokes, and their candlelight dinners. Her phone buzzes. It’s her granddaughter texting, “This year Nana, why don’t you stay with me during the holidays. I’d love your help and company.”

 

This Thanksgiving week, you will be given many opportunities to love others. I think we’d all agree that some people are easy to love, while others are much more challenging. You might not see things the way they do, agree with their political views, or approve of their lifestyle. Still… you can choose to love and let go of all that separates you.

 

Love has the power to unite unlikely people when we love like Jesus.

 

If Jesus sat at your dinner table, trekked on a hike with your family, or went shopping with you, who would He include in His love? What words would He choose? Who would He stop for? How would He touch? In what ways would He encourage? 

 

You have Jesus’ Spirit within you. Let His unconditional love flow through you and love all of His children He brings into your path. When you love like Jesus, not only does your soul shift, but you saturate those around with love and joy. This is the kind of love that breaks down barriers. It’s highly contagious!  Practice and give it a try.

 

3 O’CLOCK CIRCLES

 

Here are 3 questions or prompts to encourage you to love like Jesus this week.

 

  1. Pray and ask God who He specifically wants you to love this week.

 

  1. Plan ahead. How can you intentionally plan to love the different people you’ll be with on Thanksgiving Day?

 

  1. Reach out in love. Who might be sad, lonely, or in need this week? How can you love like Jesus with your time, words, and actions?

 

 

The Power of Giving God Thanks Will Ignite Your Faith and Change Your World!

 

 

Thank You for Being A Part of the 3 O’Clock Wake Up Call Movement

Here are 3 questions or prompts to encourage you to love like Jesus this week.

 

1. Pray and ask God who He specifically wants you to love this week.

 

2. Plan ahead. How can you intentionally plan to love the different people you’ll be with on Thanksgiving Day?

 

3. Reach out in love. Who might be sad, lonely, or in need this week? How can you love like Jesus with your time, words, and actions?

 

 

The Power of Giving God Thanks Will Ignite Your Faith and Change Your World!

 

 

Thank You for Being A Part of the 3 O’Clock Wake Up Call Movement

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