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Be thankful this holiday season

By By Mike Hurt
Nov. 15, 2013 at 5:15 a.m.

Mike Hurt

With the holiday season fast approaching, the hustle and bustle of the season is already beginning.

Traffic is increasing around malls and grocery stores. Family plans are being made and remade. Christmas wish lists are being created. As we all prepare for the holidays that are all too quickly approaching, let's take a step back.

Let's do what 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 teaches: "16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Both Thanksgiving and Christmas invite us to rejoice. Thanksgiving calls for us to rejoice or celebrate because of all that we have. We rejoice by expressing thankfulness in all circumstances. Take a day to give thanks for what you have and remember that our greatest possessions can't be purchased or sold.

Our greatest possessions are our relationships and memories that make life rich. Christmas also calls for us to rejoice. We rejoice that God loves us, sent His Son for us and to give us life. Never forget that Christmas isn't about us giving gifts to one another. It is about God giving His greatest Gift to us in Jesus Christ.

The call to rejoice doesn't ignore the real needs in our lives and in the lives of others. The typhoon in the Philippines reminds us that tragedies come and go despite our plans and that people experience great loss even in a season of celebration. This year, pray for those in need.

Give to the Salvation Army, and at the same time, pray for those who desperately need their service. This year, pray for families who will have empty chairs around their tables because loved ones were lost this year. This holiday season, pray that your heart, mind and soul would be attuned to the true meaning of this the most wonderful time of the year.

If we rejoice, express thankfulness and trust God through prayer, we can have the best Thanksgiving and Christmas ever. How can such a bold claim be made?

It's simple. When we rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, we are living God's will for our lives, and there is no better place to be than right in the middle of God's perfect plan for your life.

So this holiday season, do what God would have you do. Replace your stress with prayer. Replace your frustration with rejoicing and replace you desire for more with thankfulness.

Mike Hurt is the Senior Pastor of Parkway Church.

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