Thursday, November 26, 2015

Keeping Christ in Thanksgiving

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:1).

On days like this, when people focus on their "blessings," please remember and honor the Cross of Christ, which includes the resurrection and the entire life of Christ. Don't just focus on the particular blessings you can celebrate as a family or personally.

As Oswald Chambers reminds us in today's devotion: "The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach 'Jesus Christ and Him crucified'" (1 Corinthians 2:2 and Galatians 6:14) so the Cross of Christ is not emptied of its power (Galatians 6:1).

The Cross of Christ reaches in to embrace those whose relationships and lives are still mostly felt to be under the curse. When we preach (talk about) what Jesus has done for the world we lift them into God's Great Hug too. Love to you all on this Thanksgiving Day.

[The above written a few minutes ago on facebook.]
I'm glad to be back at our home in Roseville after a short week on my regular route routine. Toni has been busy with Thanksgiving preparations. I've done some cleaning around the house and I'll do more later. We're expecting 18 for a one o'clock dinner.

It's an official holiday today so I don't need to drive, through I do drive (different routes) tomorrow. I don't get paid for today but I really having this day off so its okay. Holiday pay begins after 6 months of employment. For me that will be on December 6.

Before I went to bed last night I read something written by Joe Johnson, someone I've heard speak at spiritual meetings and who is a part of the Alliance of Renewal Churches that I've connected with over the past 20 years or so. He spoke truth about holidays, that they amplify relational and emotional pain we carry during the year.

He wrote: "...Watching others enjoy the holidays may trigger loneliness. The family focus of the holidays reminds us of not feeling like we belong. Holidays increase the amount of time we spend around people with whom we have broken relationships. Extra time with our family reminds us how they are more dysfunctional than we wanted to remember. We miss loved ones who are no longer a part of our lives. Painful rejection is brought on by someone else’s addictions..."

Last night I also happened upon a little online conversation that was posted around Christmas time in 2009 with someone who was suffering (at least I think he/she was) like Joe describes.

Joe's reflection, that 2009 conversation, and some chats with a couple people on the bus yesterday who plan on spending the holiday alone brought into focus how much we need Jesus at this time of year. Thankfulness is personally beneficial but when we focus too much on the specific things we're thankful for, and when we don't acknowledge the continued suffering that is in us and around us that same thankfulness can be like salt in an open wound for others.

In response to Joe Johnson's post I wrote this:
Those of us who have intact families can seem uncaring toward those who suffer, and any trouble that's under the surface in "happy" families can be felt especially by those who have those hidden hurts. There's a remedy in the truth of Jesus. Remember and honor the Cross, which includes the resurrection and the entire life of Christ -- and do that remembering and honoring on days like this. As Oswald Chambers says [in today's devotional]: Our "focus tends to be put not on the Cross of Christ but on the effects of the Cross" (the blessings that come from a relationship with Jesus). OC says this is true in "holiness movements and spiritual experience meetings" but it's also true on days like this. Peace be with you. Prayers.
I hope you enjoy this day -- always remembering Jesus and all those who have yet to be swept up in His embrace.

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