The holiday season is officially upon us! With the longer days and warm weather behind us, we have just celebrated Thanksgiving.
This unique American holiday is one of my favorites. It’s an opportunity to gather around with family for a delicious meal. While sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner with loved ones is part of what makes Thanksgiving great, what sets this holiday apart is that it’s about giving thanks and reflecting on what we are grateful for.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation establishing Thanksgiving in 1944, American forces were fighting a brutal war to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. In his proclamation, Roosevelt said, “To the end that we may bear more earnest witness to our gratitude to Almighty God, I suggest a nationwide reading of the Holy Scriptures during the period from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas. Let every man of every creed go to his own version of the Scriptures for a renewed and strengthening contact with those eternal truths and majestic principles which have inspired such measure of true greatness as this nation has achieved.”
As Psalm 50:14-15 tells us, “Offer God a sacrifice of thanksgiving. And pay your vows to the Most High; Call upon Me on the day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will honor Me.” God reminds us to offer our sacrifices not in material goods, but in our thankfulness for His love and forgiveness. While it’s fitting to reflect on this verse on Thanksgiving, it is something we should keep in mind all of the other 364 days of the year.
There’s no question that the holidays can be stressful, whether we’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner, shopping for gifts or preparing the house for guests. One Bible verse that can help us get through the stress of the holidays is Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” In his letter, Paul the Apostle reminds us of the power of prayer. By speaking with Christ, asking for guidance, and following His teachings, our Lord will give us the strength we need to overcome the challenges we face.
The holidays can be tough for military families. Right now, thousands of our heroic service members are stationed abroad, putting their lives on the line to protect our nation. I’m incredibly grateful for their selfless service and sacrifice for our nation. It’s also important to give thanks to police officers, firefighters and EMTs. Many of them won’t be able to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner because they will be out in our communities keeping families safe. As you sit down with family for Thanksgiving, I hope you will join me in praying for our service members and first responders.
Serving the hardworking folks of southern Missouri is an incredible honor, and something I will never take for granted. I hope you and your family have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!