How do you feel about “Christmas creep”? Many stores have been displaying Christmas decorations since before Halloween. Now some will open Thanksgiving night to get a jump on the traditional “Black Friday” shopping frenzy. More people than ever before will do their Christmas shopping from their smartphones, avoiding both the crowds and time with their families.
I know one Person who won’t miss Thanksgiving. During this season, ministers encourage us to thank God for all he has done for us. This morning, as I was praying about the theme of this essay, a new thought struck me: God is also thankful for us.
I’ve never considered the fact that the Lord of the universe would be thankful that I exist, but it’s true. Just as I am grateful every day for my sons, so my Father is grateful every day for me, and for you. He says to us, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).
What’s more, “he will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT). Our culture measures us by what we own, but he “does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands” (Job 34:19). He will never stop loving us, for “his love endures forever” (2 Chronicles 7:3).
He proved the depth of his love for us when he forgave our sins and made us his children: “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5). The psalmist was right: “You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15).
Psychologists say that I am not who I think I am, or who you think I am–I am who I think you think I am. Let’s turn that definition of self-worth toward the God who loves and cherishes us: I am who I think You think I am. See the difference?
I have begun reading Michael O’Brien’s magisterial Island of the World, and found this characterization of our lives: “We are born, we eat, and learn, and die. We leave a tracery of messages in the lives of others, a little shifting of the soil, a stone moved from here to there, a word uttered, a song, a poem left behind.” Yes, but it’s not what lies behind that demonstrates our worth so much as what lies ahead.
One day every day will be thanksgiving, ours for God and his for us. Why not today?