Too Early For Christmas? A Letter to West Franklin

West Franklin Family,

If you are anything like me, Christmas can’t get here fast enough. Not so much because I think time with friends and family will be normal (they won’t). And not so much because I think I will open tons of presents (I can only hope). I am eager for Christmas because the thought of it just puts a smile on my face. I am eager for Christmas because it’s arrival will mean 2020 is coming to an end. I am eager for Christmas because, as one with kids still in the house, I believe there will still be a touch of magic on Christmas morning.

At our house, Christmas music is already in the air. Lights are up, on, and around the house. Shopping has begun. Christmas blend coffee is being brewed. The tree isn’t up yet, but a new one has been purchased.

Christmas can’t get here fast enough. I am always excited for this holiday and 2020 has “upped the eager” if you know what I mean.

We need to be careful, though, don’t we? Let’s cool our jets just a bit. Let’s pause, take a deep breath, and let another holiday have it’s due. If you’re like me, you run the risk of running so fast into Christmas that you blow by Thanksgiving. It would be a shame to slurp down so much nog that we forget the gravy.

Though Christmas should be celebrated and enjoyed and made much of, we are never commanded to celebrate Jesus’ birth. We are, however, commanded to be thankful over and over and over and over. I urge you to always make much of Christmas. Jesus’ birth is a big deal. But let me plead with you (as I plead with myself!) to take time to be thankful.

God doesn’t need us to be thankful. He is not going to lack something if we are ungrateful wretches. Being thankful is not something that changes God or something He needs to be whole. Thanksgiving is something that changes us. Thanksgiving transforms our perspective. Being grateful revolutionizes our souls. Expressing gratitude to God is one of the rare cures for anxiety.

For the good of our souls, don’t run so fast to Rudolph that you forfeit the cranberry sauce.

Will everything be different this year? Of course. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s still 2020. But if you will join me in disciplining yourself to pay attention, I predict a soul as full as your stuffing stuffed stomach. Consider. . .

Are you breathing?

Can you read this?

Do you have coffee in your cup? Do you have any idea what it took to get that to taste like it does right now?

Is there someone you can call?

Do you have a Bible?

Look out your window. What do you see? Seriously. Take 5 minutes and simply pay attention to what you see.

Do you have family you are being forced to stay away from this year? Aren’t you glad it makes you sad? Think about why. Because of the memories!

Can you smell the pumpkin pie?

Do you have bread for leftover turkey sandwiches?

Do you have toilet paper? If not, do you know someone who can lend a roll?

Did your light switch turn on light today? Did the heat kick on this morning? Did your heart keep beating while you slept? Did your fridge keep things cold? Do you have a cell phone that is charged?

Is college football coming on today?

Are you able to attend a church service in some capacity tomorrow?

Is there talk of a COVID-19 vaccine?

Can you smile right now?

That ought to get you started. You see? I can already feel your heart pressure going to normal. Breathe. Pause. Thank. Christmas is coming and I am very excited. But for crying out loud, let’s put a pause on Claus. Go ahead. Thank God He made butter and rolls. And when that explosive taste hits your palate this Thursday, offer a thanksgiving to God for His wonderful gifts.

God willing, in some capacity, I will see you tomorrow with my Bible open to 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17.

Thankful,

Pastor Matt