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Thanksgiving and Christmas Message 2010

May you have a joyful Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year 2011.

In Everything Give Thanks to God

Thanksgiving this year 2010 comes with so many people in financial struggle since the Wall Street crashed and took their money. Perhaps you may be asking yourself the purpose of this Thanksgiving. May be you are struggling financially or with

health problems, or your love relationship has turned upside down. Always remember the one who gave you the gift of life. Regardless to anything anybody might have said, all honor and glory belong to God. He is the one that deserves to be praised for ALL the things we enjoy. If you refuse to thank and praise him, how do you think he will open the Gates of Heaven to bless you, even more? Your anger over your challenges is considered at insult to God. Think about it! How many people are willing to offer something to anybody that is insulting him or her? However, if you raise up your voice in praise to him like Paul and Silas did in Acts when they were in prison, God will hear your prayers. God is an Ancient of Days that stays up all night. He can still hear your midnight cry no matter what you may be going through. If his eye is on the sparrow, I know he is watching over me, and you, too.

Here are three important things to remember during the holiday celebration including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

First, do not allow the pain of the past to contaminate your celebration of today. Make a determination this year, "NO more holiday blues." If the devil starts to place painful past before you, get your Bible and start bathing your soul with the Word of God. Do not open the door for him. Close the door to the enemy and open the door for the Holy Spirit to embrace you, and draw you closer to God.

"In his presence is the fullness of joy, and in his right hand are pleasures for evermore" (Psalm 16:11).

Your prayer and meditation in the Word of God draw you closer to the presence of God.

Second, do not lose God in a bowl of turkey. During celebration, we have this human tendency to lose God in the midst of our celebrations. God MUST be the center of our thanks and celebration for the Thanksgiving occasion. Do not lose God like many people tend to lose Jesus during the Christmas celebration. Santa did not die for your sins, but Jesus did. Creation did not give you the gift of life, but God did. Please for God’s sake, do not worship creations. Worship God! Joseph and Mary lost Jesus during the festive celebration of Passover in Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years old (St. Luke 2:42-52). Jesus was not lost, because he was in Jerusalem in the temple. But his parents lost him for three days. The purpose of the celebration is to give thanks to God.

Third, always remember the promptings of the Holy Spirit. During this celebration, God may direct you through the Holy Spirit to be kind to somebody. Perhaps a homeless person may approach you, or a family in need. Do not ignore those that are in need.

About a few Christmas ago, I was in a state of jubilation because I had given out all my presents. In the middle of the afternoon, I was about to relax when I received the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Lord placed a church member before me and asked me to go and give her a Christmas present. My immediate response was no, Lord. I said, "I have already given out all the presents I have. I’m not giving out any more presents. I’m done!" Then the Holy Spirit told me again to go and give this woman (one of our church members) a present. I was not even her deacon. Because the message was continuous, I decided to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I took a bottle of apple cider and some cookies and headed to the church member’s apartment. After calling her, I was on my way. On my way, the Holy Spirit placed it in my heart to pray with her. I was wondering in my heart how this could happen. How could I have invited myself to somebody’s apartment? As soon as I arrived, she was outside waiting for me. I was about to drop the present and drive away when she said, "Please come inside."

I came out of my car and went into her apartment. She was a middle age woman living alone. Her daughter was out of town. So, I spent some time with her sharing the Word of God. Following my fellowship with her, I asked her to kneel down with me and I prayed with her. After I finished praying, I opened my eyes and saw the storm of tears had washed down her makeup on her face. I asked her why she was weeping. With a smile she said, "The tears were that of joy. This morning, I was praying to God to send me somebody to fellowship with me. My brother, you’re God’s answer to my prayer."

I left her apartment that Christmas praising God!

You too may be used by God to be an answer to somebody’s prayer this holiday season. Remain in the Spirit of gratitude to God.

"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).

May you have a joyful Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year 2011.

By Yinka Vidal, Author, Closer Walk With Jesus