The Phil Files

Musings & messages on everyday worship, Jesus, and the stuff of life.


with 4 comments

Our family has enjoyed an incredibly blessed Thanksgiving season, enjoying being together, sharing good food, and the presence of a precious little guest that is the foster baby our kids are caring for at this time. This Thanksgiving has been wonderful!

Other Thanksgiving celebrations have been filled with other things. Misunderstandings, unexpected deaths, difficult illnesses, hard travel, and hurt feelings. Like you, I’m sure, the travel season of the holidays is a wondrous and sometimes worrisome time. In response to both, I will begin a short series of messages on called Traveling Mercies about some of the more famous journeys made by God’s people of faith. Next week (December 3), I hope to look  Moses, the following will be Ruth (December 10), then we will focus on Joseph and Mary and their trip to Bethlehem (December 17). The final week of the year, we will look at Saul’s trip to Damascus on the final day of the year, we will anticipate where God is going to take us this next year.

As you travel, I hope you will think about the following questions and pray that God will fill your season with His presence and that your joy will bless others. This Thanksgiving, I hope you will think about the following (these go with the week article called, “The Long Wait”):

What is your most memorable Thanksgiving for good reasons?

What is your most regrettable Thanksgiving?

Most of the time, we talk about Thanksgiving as the holiday that is good and Christmas as the one that is commercialized.

* Why do think this is so?

* Which holiday do you like better and why?

* How can you make Thanksgiving more full of the joy of Jesus’ coming and Christmas more full of thanksgiving for what God has done for us?

* Why are both celebrations important for us as God’s people?

What can you do to prepare your heart and your family for a more proper approach to the Christmas season?

Written by phil

November 25th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Posted in BLOGSTUFF,Heartlight

4 Responses to 'Thanks'

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  1. Hi, I read the article on Christmas and Thanks Giving. I am a Black woman who live in an island in the Caribbean sea. Our island state don’t celebrate Thanks Giving, however we do celebrate Christmas. I’m sad to say Christmas is simply becoming more and more a commercial holiday. As families become more advanced in materialism; Christmas celebration which was once the one family bonding for most families is losing its significance. I found your story touching because we once shared such stories at our Christmas gatherings. I hope we will try to get back some of this bonding for the sake of our children.

    God Bless, Lucy


    27 Nov 09 at 4:18 am

  2. Phil:
    Please pray for Tiger Woods! I read that Tiger Woods
    was seriously injured in Florida in a car wreck at
    his home in Florida!

    He is a hero to American young people! We need to pray for him!

    Patti Ezzell

    Patti Ezzell

    27 Nov 09 at 2:28 pm

  3. I am anxious to print your upcoming December articles. When will we be able get them? Thank you.

    Deanna Love

    30 Nov 09 at 11:48 pm

  4. My most memorable Thanksgiving was 1970 – when my eldest son was born. Thanksgiving was less than a week later; Chris was still in the hospital with jaundice and I had headaches from the spinal anesthesia I was given for delivery. Still I had good reasons to be thankful; Chris would be fine with fluorescent light treatment; I would be ok after a few weeks rest; and my husband was willing to give Thanksgiving dinner a try – not many men would tackle that! He made turkey with cold stuffing – he shoved 2 large mixing bowls of stuffing in a small turkey 😉 ; still it was a good dinner and our first Thanksgiving together. The previous year, our first year of marriage, he was in Vietnam. I was thankful he was home safe and our new little baby had no serious problems!

    You might think my most regrettable Thanksgiving would have been the year my husband was in Vietnam, but he only had a month and a half to go – so we were excited and anticipating wonderful things because we were on the home stretch! This year and 2007 were my worst. I had gone to college 29 years (keeping honor grades) in the evenings while I worked and raised our 2 sons and finally had gotten the job I had worked for – as a mainframe computer programmer. I worked 8 years (starting at a smaller salary than I had made as office manager); my boss generously rewarded me for my efforts. Just when I reached the salary I had hoped for I contracted an autoimmune disease that left me out of breath going up the basement stairs. I had to quit that job because allergens there were causing a tremendous deterioration in my health. I still have bills from the years of struggle while I was in college, raising my sons and helping my family (I had to fly to AZ when my Dad became terminally ill; we brought my sisters to live with us for awhile; a few years later my mom became terminally ill and the expenses from that sent us further in debt – why I worked so hard to get the good job). I LOVE giving – which is the reason Thanksgiving was so difficult in 2007 and again this year. It almost kills me when I can’t. I had a job for a short time in 2008 so that year was better (it also had a bad environment for allergies); this year I know we have reached our limit financially and simply can’t afford to be as generous as we were in the past. It devastates me – and every time I read something about someone in need it devastates me because I cannot help.

    The reason Thanksgiving is good and Christmas commercialized is obvious; the first is about remembering how blessed we are; the second is an opportunity for businesses to make money. That leads to the second problem – the temptation for those wrapped up in material things to become greedy – and then there are those, who like me LOVE to be generous and cannot; who can’t afford to do what they would like for their loved ones. Thanksgiving has no such pressure; it’s all about family, love and being thankful for what we already have!

    Until recently I always liked Christmas better. My in-laws were so generous at Christmas; they made it seem like a day of miracles, like something out of this world. But the thing that made it most special wasn’t the gifts. That year as I contemplated whether recognizing Christmas was a good thing – I’ve always believed we should recognize Christ every day, not just once a year – I realized that at least once a year everyone became nicer; people were more patient, more loving. That made Christmas the BEST time of year.

    I don’t think it possible to make Thanksgiving more full of the joy of Jesus’ coming and Christmas more full of thanksgiving for what God has done for us. The past 10 years or more people have lost that patient, loving, peaceful attitude that used to belong to Christmas and have become harried, pressured shoppers trying to cram too much in too little time. The key to that loss is we aren’t seeking Christ each and every day. If we did when these special days came, we would truly appreciate what it meant to have the bountiful blessings that God gives and the true gift of Christ-coming-as-man that made all our other blessings and problems insignificant.

    I have been working hard to make my attitude a proper one as a Christian, to get over the resentment I have that I can’t do what I would like; that all my efforts to be in a better financial situation were fruitless. I am doing this by remembering the poverty we saw on our last 2 trips outside this country. I found pictures of that poverty and wrote an email to remind myself just how blessed I am!!! Even though I can’t give to my children and grandchildren as I’d like; they don’t live in poverty, I don’t have to worry that they don’t have food, or clothing, or medicine (one woman in Belize stayed with me as I was having an asthma attack – shared that her son, a baby, had asthma and they couldn’t afford medicine because she and her husband made $50 a week!). Our children have wonderful medical facilities if they get sick; they have wonderful schools and neighborhoods.

    I am truly blessed – as are we all. We should remember EVERY day!!!

    Linda Hoeck

    7 Dec 09 at 1:52 pm

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