Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.Hebrews 13:15, NIV
Holidays insist upon celebrations, thankful hearts, and cheer. Yet this challenging year has stripped our world of the usual mood. More of us grieve and suffer in isolation than ever before. Countless hearts slump under the weight of loss. Negative energy has proven more contagious than any virus. Fear and hopelessness have usurped joy’s rightful place in this season.
Beaming in celebration gets tough when the stars themselves have grown dim.
Many who tried to lift up our communities these past months have collapsed in fatigue. Complained they’ve got nothing left to share. The pain and struggle have pressed in around them and finally broken through to dampen their spirits.
This year isn’t the first horrific time upon the earth, you see. Troubles cause us to forget past survival and future promises. Ancient Hebrews trekked through centuries of slavery, decades of desert wandering, and several eras of foreign oppression. Near history tells of world wars, genocides, and various cyber and viral terrors. In fact, our nation’s pilgrim settlers suffered tremendous death rates and nearly lost hope of survival.
The darkness often attempts to convince light-bearers of its sovereignty. Especially in such times as these.
One candle reveals this as a lie. Light dispels darkness wider and larger than the light appears to occupy itself. And light-bearers merely host and represent the power they hold. We do not produce the fire from within us, but we must choose to carry the glow imparted to us into the cold abyss where beaming feels so entirely absent.
Gratitude might not come as our first response to this year’s closing seasons. Rather than an easy offering, the celebration and rejoicing might feel more like a sacrifice.
At least at first.
For praise draws us closer to God’s face, where His breath of Life will revive our heart-sparks. As we lift our souls to the Light Himself and thank Him for Who He is, our fires will brighten. And when more of us raise our soul-candles in praise, hope will beam across the gloom-sickened world.
Whether the stars dim or the world remains dark, we can choose to offer thanks this holiday. How will you light your tables with hope? Bring a glimmer of praise to your community? Share your ideas and feedback in the comments so we can increase our brilliance together!
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Have a blessed Thanksgiving, my friends!