NOTE: I would like to begin this morning by expressing my gratitude to my son, Ryan, for writing last week’s Daily Articles. I am truly thankful for his thoughtful and inspiring columns while Janet and I were on vacation. Ryan is completing his PhD in church history and is a gifted thinker and writer. I am very proud of him and honored to share this ministry with him.
My wife marked a significant birthday last week. I offered to take her anywhere to celebrate and she chose Disney World. Since she grew up just a few blocks from Disneyland in California and we visited Disney World often while living in Atlanta, the trip was a nostalgic and fun week for us both.
However, one part of our vacation was a new experience: we had never visited Disney World in mid-November. We saw Christmas decorations everywhere we looked. Wreaths on the doors, garlands on the light poles and attractions, Christmas parades in the streets. We were told that more than 1,500 Christmas trees were placed on the various Disney World properties.
The decorations were beautiful. The parades, light shows, and fireworks were stunning. Disney World celebrates Christmas in grand style.
But another holiday was noteworthy for its absence.
A holiday or a holy day?
I don’t remember a single reference to Thanksgiving. Not one pilgrim or turkey on the grounds. It was as though this Thursday’s celebration of gratitude does not exist.
My purpose is not to criticize Disney World–it is to note that for most Americans, they’re right. Thanksgiving is a day for food and football followed by Black Friday sales on Thursday.
We are busy because we think that being busy will make us better, more productive, more fulfilled. In short, we are answering Satan’s invitation to “be like God” (Genesis 3:5). But there’s a better way.
“Be still, and know that I am God”
Why should we “be still,” retreating from the stress and strain of our culture into solitude and intimacy with God? Because this is the way to “know that I am God.” But why do we need to know that he is God?
One: God is a “very present help in trouble” when we make him “our refuge and strength” (v. 1). However, we can be thankful for such help only to the degree that we experience it personally.
The fact that most Americans will miss Thanksgiving tells us that most Americans are missing the refuge and strength our Father offers us. Let’s not make this mistake.
What “trouble” are you facing today?
Two: Our Lord proclaims, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (v. 10). However, we can be thankful for this glorious future only to the degree that we exalt Jesus as Lord in the present.
The fact that most Americans will miss Thanksgiving tells us that most Americans are exalting someone or something more than God. Let’s not make this mistake.
What will you do to glorify Jesus today?
“The God of Jacob is our fortress”
Psalm 46 ends with this declaration: “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (v. 11). If we trust God with our trouble and exalt him with our service, we will end our days and our lives with the same declaration.
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Jim Denison, Ph.D., speaks and writes on cultural and contemporary issues. He is a trusted author and subject matter expert in areas where faith and current events intersect. His Daily Article provides leading insight for discerning today’s news from a biblical perspective.