We have just come through the season of Thanksgiving. This national holiday that lasts for one day seems to many to be nothing more than a gathering of our families to eat a huge meal and prepare to go shopping for Christmas presents. Someone came up with the idea of taking the 30 days of November and remembering a different blessing each day. This exercise reminds us that blessings come in all sizes and shapes. It also develops within us the habit of gratitude. Gratitude is one of the most significant life skills one can possess. Thanksgiving seems to be something that gets crowded out as we rush into the Advent season. Don’t misunderstand me, I love Christmas as much as the next person. I just believe that the lessons of Thanksgiving are so vital that we should not rush through the day,Thanksgiving is something too important to be limited to one day a year.
Thanksgiving is a beautiful entry point for the Advent celebration. You see thankfulness and Christmas go hand-in-hand. As we enter the Advent season I’m reminded of several things for which I am thankful:

• The plan of salvation
• God’s love
• The power and presence of the Holy Spirit
• The Word of God
• The community of faith
• God’s grace

The Advent season reminds me that God has a plan and that God is in control and that God’s plans cannot be stopped by anyone.
During the Advent celebration, I am reminded how thankful I am for a young maiden who loved God so much she accepted his plan for her life and served him gladly. Even when she could not understand how a virgin would be able to have a child, even then she trusted. Mary reminds me of the fact that the grace of God comes to people and we must respond in obedience. I am grateful for Joseph mostly silent in the Scripture yet his character speaks to us today. Because he was a righteous man, he followed God’s will though at times it had to make him uncomfortable. Though he was never in the spotlight, his strong and courageous faith serves as a testimony that you can trust God in everything. I am thankful this Advent season for shepherds out in their fields where they were every night of the year. They served in the capacity that many thought to be mundane and ordinary. When they heard the announcement from the angels, they gladly went to Bethlehem to follow up and verify that is was just as the angels had said. They serve as reminders for all of us that God does some of his best work among ordinary people. I am thankful this Advent season for the Wisemen. They remind us that God loves all people regardless of where they live and what their nationality is or whether to others they look like good candidates to welcome the Messiah. The story of Christ’s birth reminds us that God is a God who is in control. Even something like going to your village to be taxed was an event that God used to bring about his divine plan.

The events of Christ’s birth remind me that God works in our lives. He works when we can’t see how He is working, yet He still works. He is even tody working through ordinary people. He works and brings His plans to completion. The Advent hope is that the God who worked through the events leading up to Christ’s birth is still working today. He loves you and let us all be thankful as we enter into the celebration of Christ’s first coming.

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