The Season of Thanksgiving (Part 2)

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV).

In just seven years we will see the Centennial Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It had humble beginnings in that first year of 1924. A group of animals from the Central Park Zoo were marched down a street in Harlem accompanied by a handful of immigrant Macy’s employees who wanted to express how thankful they were for living in the United States that year. Today it is the quintessential event to begin the Christmas Season. Granted, there are several human reasons for the timing of our Thanksgiving observation in the United States, some based in God’s work in American history and some growing out of commercial and financial pressures. But God is always sovereign, working through what look like merely human causes. And so I’m grateful that as we give thanks the last week in November; it is then that we open the gateway to our celebration of Christ’s incarnation.

I am also very grateful for Thanksgiving. Fourteen years ago, November 27th (which was Thanksgiving Day that year) my first two grandchildren were born. I was not surprised about that day, though no one knew for sure what the date would be. I always thought it would be just like God to make it that day as a reminder of how thankful we would be each year at their birthday celebration. There were lots of complications getting them here. That has never been lost on me. Every birth is a miracle, but we were able to see one so vividly with Faith and Logan.

No less, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. The apostle reminds us in our reading that because we are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. And yet, in some ways, we are still waiting. Our spiritual redemption came to us with the baby of Bethlehem. There is suffering and tragedy still, even for Christians. Someone we love is dying. We may be in pain. Sometimes we have trouble believing God’s promises. In other words, our redemption is not complete. We are waiting for the redemption of our bodies; waiting for Jesus’ second advent, for him to come again. Advent is a season of looking back, thinking how it must have been, waiting for the promised salvation of God, not knowing what to expect. And at the same time, it is a season of looking ahead, preparing ourselves to meet Jesus at his Second Coming. What a great, unshakable hope we have before us! What a wonder we possess to motivate us to thanksgiving. Start now and be thankful!