Thanksgiving the stage hand to Advent.

This is a wonderful time of year. There is a nip in the air, its football time in America and the holidays are upon us. It is one of those times that people become abnormally cheerful, or sad.

As for me, I get really excited about this time of year.

I love Thanksgiving. It ushers in all things pumpkin (of which I am and addict of), more ways to eat turkey than is humanly possible to consume (but we all try), and the opportunity to look back and see just how fortunate I am for the life I live each day. The season starts with Thanksgiving which really seems to be the stage hand to Advent, I say that because it seemingly sets up the season so nicely.

During Advent I am struck by the reflection of the incarnation of God on earth, the example I have to live a life worth something, the opportunity it affords to be a part of something significantly bigger than myself and the very foundation for the kingdom of God that I so graciously get to take part in.

There is something about Thanksgiving that really hones the Christian experience.

I have celebrated Thanksgiving separately from Advent for so long and it has been meaningful in one way or another, but as I look at the two as partners in the same dance it has somehow become so much more meaningful a year as I prepare for Advent.

In Isaiah there is a presentation of what is to come, this moment that will culminate history and provide a greater perspective that had not been known. It is the moment that Isaiah tells the people of Israel there will be a child born who will in fact reconcile all things together back to God the Father, and we will rejoin his council.

Jesus is restoring all things back to the Father.

When I think about that I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving, that God would offer this glimpse into a future reality and affirm “it’s all going to be okay, this is only for a moment”. Thanksgiving offers me the opportunity not to just be thankful for friends, family and life, but truly the opportunity to find joy and peace in God’s work in the universe. There is an invitation to peace that is liberating to me, so much so that I don’t know how to live outside that any longer. I am thankful that there is a better way to live.

I don’t have to live broken anymore, and neither do you.

The beauty in reflecting on the incarnation is that through it we see God’s care and concern for the world to provide the way out. We see our moment, our opportunity for freedom from sin and death, and we see that there is something better to live for.

For some this might be really hard, and I think that is okay. I have found that difficulty births thanksgiving and thanksgiving births a joyful heart. I hope that this week as you gather around with friends and family that you can see God’s work in the world and embrace the incarnational reality that GOD IS WITH US.

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