I missed posting yesterday because we were doing some family things, so I’m going to share both of them in one post today. The two things I’m hoping we’ll be thankful for today are “The Hope for the World” and “Mission.”

It may seem a little unnatural to be thankful for those, especially mission, but I think that mission is something we should really be thankful for. But let me start with the first, and then I’ll tie these two ideas together.

The reason I don’t have a problem listening to Christmas music before thanksgiving is this thing – that Jesus Christ is the hope for our world. There are those (to protect the identity of the guilty they shall remain nameless) who think that you just can’t start listening to Christmas music until after Easter. Most years, I’ve started listening to Christmas music around August.

I have no problem starting to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving, because if it were not for Christmas we wouldn’t have a whole lot to be thankful for. In fact, one could argue that without Christmas and the movement of the Church that led to America, we wouldn’t even have Thanksgiving. And not even that, but if Jesus hadn’t come and institute grace over the law, we’d still be living in bondage to having to perform in an acceptable way in hopes that we did enough right things to earn our way to God.

And one more thing, perhaps the greatest celebration of Christmas is the fact that God is with us. Up until Jesus came, God was only to be feared and revered. He was not someone that you knew or had living with you. You couldn’t talk to God directly, you had to go through a priest. But, Jesus came, died, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and sent his presence to live in every single one of his believers.

Jesus really is the hope for this world. And He’s not just the idea of a deity that is separated from us in every way. Instead, he is with us in every way. That’s what we have to be thankful for. That’s why it’s okay to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving, even all year long.

And when you understand just how amazing that is, you are also thankful for mission. You’re thankful that you get to be a part of leading people to a life-changing relationship. You’re thankful that you get to be a part of the work of the King of kings and Lord of lord, and that you get to sit at the table at the banquet with the creator of the universe. When you are thankful for Jesus Christ – God with us as the hope of the world, you are thankful for the mission He has given to you as well.

You’re thankful for the mission, because it’s through this mission that we bring more people to the table to eat at the banquet with the God who loved them enough to send his son into the world to walk among them.

Are you thankful?