For “Scripture Sunday”, Just after Thanksgiving Day:
Thanksgiving, Christmas—and Greed
“So, I can’t help but wonder, Am I the only person struck by this? I’m talking about the paradox of this time of the year, the approximately one month from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I just find it amazing!
Here’s what I’m talking about: the fourth Thursday in November, the wonderful national holiday celebrated in the United States of America—Thanksgiving Day. What’s it all about? Gratitude, thankfulness, acknowledgement of divine blessing.
Here’s what President Abraham Lincoln, sometimes referred to as the father of the Thanksgiving holiday, proclaimed back in 1863:
“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. … No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”
He then went on to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” He recommended “offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings.”
Isn’t that wonderful? Gratitude. Humility. Recognition of God’s merciful blessings and favor. Never mind that for far too many Americans in the 150 years since that proclamation, Thanksgiving Day has devolved into little more than “turkey day,” or a day to watch football. At least it started out right, as a day of thanksgiving.
But then the paradox. This year it didn’t even wait till “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving. For many retail establishments, it began on Thanksgiving Day itself: “Buy, buy, buy!” “Grab, grab, grab!” “Get, get, get!” Okay, so maybe it’s just because I’m a little older and bothered more by these things. Or maybe it actually is even more crass, even more aggressive this year. But this annual orgy of greed and grab seems to be more offensive and unpleasant this year even more than usual.
An example: At a Wal-Mart store in Elkin, North Carolina, fights broke out as one crazed shopper violently grabbed and shoved in a frantic consumerist push. For what? A TV set! And it didn’t even wait till the day after Thanksgiving. It was Thanksgiving night! And this is about gratitude?
And so it goes on, just as it does every year, for one whole unpleasant month. Spend, spend and more spend. Stuff, stuff and more stuff. Grab and grab and grab—even with a little violence, if necessary. And for what? A day that supposedly commemorates the birth of the Savior of humanity, the One who gave His life for all humankind.
Leave aside for the moment the fact that Christmas isn’t even mentioned in the Bible. Leave aside the fact that it has pre-Christian origins. Leave aside the fact that it’s really a pagan festivity, baptized under the banner of Christ.
Leave all that aside, and you’re still left with that grotesque contradiction, a month ending in a holiday that supposedly epitomizes the Christian way of life, but that really seems to culminate four weeks of greed and coveting. How sad!
Am I the only one? No, I’m really glad that I’m not. Most of my friends are aware of the non-biblical roots of Christmas, and they do their best to avoid all the commercialism and ugliness of a celebration that has become little more than one giant retail binge.
We invite you to consider the true way of life—one of selflessness and outgoing concern, not of grab and greed—described in the pages of your Bible. For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Ralph Levy.” From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/speaking-of/thanksgiving-christmas-and-greed/
Thanks To The Bees, Food for All
An Amazing Fact: “Bees are very social insects, and mutual feeding seems to be the order of their existence. The workers feed the helpless queen, who cannot feed herself. They feed the drones and, of course, they feed the young. They seem to actually enjoy this social act. One bee always seems ready to feed another bee, even if that bee is from a different colony.
The bee has been aptly described as busy. To produce one tablespoon of honey for our toast, the little bee makes 4,200 trips to flowers. A worker bee will fly as far as eight miles in search of nectar. He makes about 10 trips a day to the fields, each trip lasting 20 minutes and covering 400 flowers. To produce just one pound of clover honey, the bee must visit 56,000 clover heads. Since each head has 60 flower tubes, a total of 3,360,000 visits are necessary. In the end, that worker bee will have flown the equivalent of three times around the world. And they never sleep!
The impact of the honeybee on your food goes beyond honey. This little wonder of God’s creation is responsible for 80 percent of all insect pollination; if it didn’t do its job it would significantly decrease the yield of fruits and vegetables.
Psalm 145 is a song of praise to the Creator. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3). As we look at the amazing honeybee, we can join David in saying, “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works” (v. 5). When we consider the immense number of flowers it takes to make one pound of honey, it seems an impossibility, yet the Bible says, “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” (v. 15, 16). Thank God for the honeybee!”
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Give us day by day our daily bread. Luke 11:3
The apostle Paul strongly connects prayer with thanksgiving in several other memorable passages:
- “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
- “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
- “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
We never know when we will have a sudden freeze at night, (we have already had one short 29 deg. temperature that crept up on us) so Zack and I readied the aloe vera plants for winter. We covered up the long, long trough of them that are planted next to the hedge where they share the same underground watering system. Then we moved all the many pots of aloe into the green house. This year I haven’t been advertising the aloe like I should because of spending so much time working on the mini-house, so I have more pots than usual.
The county, or whoever, finally replaced the yellow caution traffic light on my corner, that the posts had became uprooted during Hurricane Harvey, or there was so much rain that the poles just fell over. Now it is slung from the tall main electric line poles and for the first time we have a street light at this junction. Now the mini-house back door is always illuminated, so I don’t have to leave that porch light on any more.
My foster-cat “Puddin” never did warm up to the kittens who were here for Thanksgiving week. She didn’t want anything to do with them. They were so sweet, purring when held, and I taught them some “Catiquette”, like not darting through doors, and not getting on tables or coutertops. They were picked up this morning and taken back to the Cat Habitat at Petco, awaiting forever homes. I have some of their “playthings” picked up, like torn up newspaper, little boxes that they batted around, and the cat toys, but they preferred to play with the things that they found. Just like kids would rather play with the box than the item that came in it. I miss them, but I am glad that they are gone, too. Little “Tux” was a little harum-scarum, and a bundle of energy, a little too much for me, he will do well with some kids. “Marble” was more sedate and loving, more my kind of cat.
Jay seems to be doing alright with his sobriety, so I let him work in the mini-house, but I still have to watch him like a hawk. He nearly cut the hole for the kitchen sink right over the sidewall of the cabinet, I stopped him after about 6 inches were cut, the sink will cover it, but Zack will have to caulk the cut to make it waterproof. Jay installed the light over the kitchen sink, then he cut and installed the frame for the little bathroom door between my bedroom and bathroom, and the rest of the wall’s trim. He fixed a bad spot on the drop-down-door-ramp on the lawn mower shed and has been helping quite a bit.
Jay was still staying sober, and went to church with me on the Sabbath. I told him that he is a “non-drinker”, and he needs to remember that. At church they were so pleased to see him again, and Gary, one of the elders, complimented him right from the pulpit.
The Bible readings were Gen. 25:19-28:9, Mal. 1:1-2:7, and Rom. 9:1-31, mostly about Esau and Jacob. The Teaching was about Overshadowing Providence and the Almighty Guardian.
There was a great big turkey for our Thanksgiving Dinner at church. It had been deep-fried for an hour, but when we cut into it, the dark meat was still red, so everyone had to eat around the edges. I had made Quinoa Dressing, made with white quinoa, celery, onions, garlic, carrots, butternut squash and seasonings. (There was another stuffing there, but it just seemed like soggy bread to me, and I don’t eat regular bread or cornbread. Regular bread, because it isn’t made of flour anymore, just fillers, and “enriched” toxic chemicals. Cornbread, because most corn is genetically modified with Round-Up, unless you buy organic.) I also made Roasted Cauliflower with black quinoa, feta and finely chopped nuts. I also took a jar of my Homemade Cranberry Sauce, which I had strained all the skins out, (that took the most time), and I took a little crockpot of Chicken Gravy. There was Potato Salad and Coleslaw, veggies, green salad, and several pies, homemade pumpkin and homemade apple, and some store-bought pies, too. There was a big cake, and a pie that no-one touched, so they were frozen for another time.
The turkey meat was divvied up and sent home with different people, but I was given the task of making the big turkey remains into bone broth. They all know that I will bring them something good made with the broth. It was so big that Zack had to help me break it in half this morning before I could cook it. One half in the slow cooker, and the other half in a pressure cooker.
When I left the church my van did the same old ‘not starting thing’…no noise, just nothing. The guys at church fiddled and fussed with it, cut and spliced wires to the Neutral Safety Switch but it still wouldn’t start, not even with jumper cables. Finally, Gary happened to touch the steering wheel tilt handle, and it started, so there must be a problem in the steering column.
While Jay was visiting his Mom in the hospital this morning, Zack and I were sanding, caulking and Kilzing the new wall between the bedroom and living room in the mini-house, and it should be ready for paint the next working day.