Last year a gal in our church gave a talk and I loved it! I still remember feeling excited about the ideas that she shared and so I found the article she pulled some of her thoughts from and wanted to share it with you. It was written by Glenn Beck - a radio and TV personality.
The holidays are upon us, my friends, how will we approach them? Just some food for thought... this article was published in Glenn Beck's magazine "Fusion", December 2007 issue.
Trinity of Holidays
- by Glenn Beck
Let's talk turkey (and eggnog and noisemakers, for that matter). We're in the midst of the holiday season (no, that's not a PC term; I'm talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's) and I have just one question: Do you even remember what it's all about?
I'm guessing you don't, because we've buried the magic of those holidays under so much noise and irrelevance that we really don't enjoy this time of year -- and we certainly don't grow spiritually from the gifts that are right in front of us. Over time, we've mangled these holidays into unrecognizable displays of gluttony and greed.
Take Thanksgiving, for instance. In November 1789, President George Washington made Thanksgiving a national holiday when he declared that the nation needed "a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer." Somehow, this day in late November that was intended to be a timeout to give thanks to Almighty God has turned into a feast of food and football that has nothing to do with prayer (unless you count praying for your football team to cover the spread, which I obviously don't).
Christmas is intended to celebrate the birth of Christ, but political-correctness and consumerism have mangled it so far beyond recognition that I'm actually surprised when I see a reference to baby Jesus anymore.
January 1st offers the promise of a new start and a new calendar year, but it's become an excuse to party and drink so much that you wake up not even knowing what day it is.
It's no wonder that, after the turkey comas and pine cone needles have disappeared, the only thing left over from the holidays is a bigger waistline and more credit card debt.
I want us to take back the real meaning of these holidays. I don't think it's an accident that they are clustered together; I see it as divine design. Every year they offer us a clear series of steps we can take to become better people.
Step One is gratitude. Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to humble ourselves and give thanks for the many blessings we have. Prayers help us find peace and acceptance with who we are.
Step Two is redemption. If you have seen my Christmas show, you know that I believe Christmas is more about the death of the man than the birth of the child. We celebrate the birth of the baby on December 25th, but the reason for His existence was so His death would cleanse our sins. His journey, from manger to cross, gives us a second chance.
Step Three is hope. The New Year gives us a clean slate, made possible because we've already humbled ourselves, given thanks, and found redemption. You can't succeed in your resolutions if you are still damaged from the past or if they are just a list on a piece of paper.
None of these holidays started out as anything extravagant. Thanksgiving was just a proclamation, Christmas began in a stable, and the New Year has always just been a day on the calendar. But their magic is in what they represent and in the opportunities they give us. They are very simple in their rewards: your grandmother's tablecloth; your child discovering the Christmas tree; the promise of a new year.
The true gifts of the season aren't in a lighting display or a gourmet meal; they are in your heart, and gathered around your table. You just have to take the time to look for them.
Traditions and glittery stuff are fine -- but our souls need attention, too. There is such a thing as a second chance and I hope, if you need one, you will find it this season in all the blessings around you.
Happy holidays from the Glenn Beck Program
Take it for what it's worth. But, I'm hoping to apply some of the things he mentions in my life. I think that too often we get caught up in the material aspect of these holidays - I know I do. I'm so busy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day that I forget to be thankful for the family I'm surrounded by. I'm so eager for my children to open their "perfect gifts" on Christmas morning that I neglect to remember the only TRUE "perfect gift" ever given. I'm so exhausted on New Years that I don't make resolutions to change. It's so much easier to just stay the same.
This year will be different. I'm going to keep the materialism in my holidays to a minimum. I wish I could say that I would eliminate them entirely, but that would be a lie. I like to cook for my family on Thanksgiving, but this year I won't go so crazy with our menu. I want my kids to get a few things for Christmas, but they don't need so many things - because that's exactly what they are - THINGS. And I'm going to make some changes. I can see how much I need that in my life.
Sorry this is so long! I'm not trying to be preachy... just using my blog as a sounding board for a few thoughts that I thought might be useful to someone else. What do you do to keep the holidays in focus in your home? Do you have traditions to help you maintain the spirit of the holiday rather than the things of the holiday?