"Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles....They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator -- who is forever praised. Amen." Romans 1:22-23, 25Living in a spirit of gratitude is the evidence that God is working inside us; and what God wants most of all (according to my imagination, anyway) is to be good people, reflecting the love of God in our daily lives, and to meet each day full of the Holy Spirit -- giving thanks, giving back, giving freely of our time and talent and wealth in the purpose of doing every good in thought, word, and deed.
America began with this sense (and sensibility) of good self-government at the heart of all things, seen and unseen.
Our first thanksgiving was entirely, openly, lovingly grateful, and clear; it was all about giving great thanks to God, without exception. The first settlers, Pilgrims -- the ones who survived, anyway -- spent three days glorifying God and giving thanks for being alive, alongside their newfound friends, the native Americans of the Wampanoag tribe.
Since little old Gthing essentially skipped over Thanksgiving without skipping a beat, here is a wonderful piece from one of my favorite places for inspiration -- Hillsdale College, Imprimis publication: Thanksgiving and America, by Melanie Kirkpatrick.
Following our national holiday celebrating the bounty and glory of life, love, and family -- the nation is swept right into the Christmas, complete with Black Friday matters and Cyber-Monday.
It is immediately after that, America spins a weave of gift giving and charity, creating the first Tuesday after Cyber-Monday as Giving Tuesday, calling upon all of us to spend a moment giving back to a higher purpose under heaven. It's these kinds of things -- the generosity of time and talent and abundance and grace -- that has always been a cornerstone of American life. Birthed from our Judeo-Christian roots that conceivably date all the way back to 1621, for America's foundation was built upon a rock of faith.
All of our founding documents were inspired and made manifest through the Holy Spirit, through the tireless works of a whole bunch of enlightened men, who consciously glorified Divine Providence itself, both in word and deed, while in the governance of creating America's political system. Entire townships centered around faith, family and the fellowship of countrymen, as we set our sights upon a new way to live and prosper. While the origins of all of the Ivy League colleges grew from the pulpit, literally and figuratively, each new generation that flowed -- whether from distant shores or from within -- continued in the safe keeping of a certain reverence towards heaven and the things of God.
Sunday's message from a local preacher, Dr. David Jeremiah, noted that a gift is not a gift until it is accepted. Going on to remind us of what the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8 --
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
So one thing is for certain -- to be saved, we must ACCEPT the gift of God in pure faith and be on the side of God, and be counted as one of the believers (not a denier...teehee); and second, it is not about what we do or what we give at all -- because THAT is just what is expected of you, being a child of God and all. Isn't that beautiful.
Indeed, and can I get an hallelujah!
Boasting -- the prideful self indulgence of gloating of the good works we sometimes do -- is a big fat no no. Which is why, traditionally, churches and organizations centered around a certain faith do the work quietly, unseen, from one soul to another, nearly in secret. These kind of things go on every day in America, with or without an official declaration by name, like "Giving Tuesday." That's child's play, right? Although, come to think of it, Sunday's round of football games, calling attention to the players cleats, did make my heart skip across about ten yards to a first down. Well done, NFL, well done.
Dr. David Jeremiah also told the story of Lew Wallace, author of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. As it has become widely known, Lew set out to write the story coming from a place of "indifference" towards religion, and God. And yet, after his research and the incredible devotion of time and toil, his faith in God moved from an awkward indifference to a downright conviction -- as he writes in the preface of another book, The First Christmas:From "Ben-Hur"!
[Dear Santa: that would be a lovely thing to find under the tree]
The thing is, this girl feels that our nation's foundation needs some work.
We've essentially lost that loving feeling towards the Almighty; and me thinks it has much to do with the conscious extinguishing of so much of our religious heritage, the traditions of faith we once lived by, and made learned, and certain, and just part of our daily life with a conviction to the likes of Lew. Hence, the life-lessons of the truth and consequences of a higher dimension upon us, that which we are learning on the fly as the days go by. Only Divine Providence knows which way this story ends (well, unless you count the little birdie of a thing called Revelations).
But for certain, this is something that everyone must tackle on an individual basis -- and besides, who am I to call attention to it, but another soul who struggles with keeping in relationship with God all on her own. Just a girl is imperfectly pretty and pink, though lives each day simply striving to be a better girl then the day before, that's it, that's all.
Now speaking of girls -- mine is coming home for Christmas soon. It's been a long wait, these six months while she has gallivanted and schooled herself through South America. One thing is for sure, these days ahead are full for me -- overfloweth, really; just never know when this thing called G will show up again...
That, and the knowing that this girl is purposefully planning on placing politics asunder until the new year....oh joy to the world!
So until we meet again, in spirit, and in everlasting peace....
Make it a Good Day, G