Friday, November 14, 2014

Holidays are so different here. I know, understatement of the year, right? But it’s true. There’s a part of me that after living with the extreme poverty and suffering of third-world Africa just cringes with the amount of consumerism and greed shown by our culture, especially around the holidays. Right now, the stores are filled with an odd mix of leftover Halloween costumes, turkeys, and Santa Claus figurines. They’re symbols of the frenzy of the American holiday season. 

But there’s also something really special about the hoopla around holidays, especially in the church.  Most churches really try to take advantage of the constant reminders of consumerism to focus on what the real value and point of the holidays is. Being in America you just can't get away from the reminders of the holidays, whereas in Uganda it's easier for one day to be just like another. This year, I'm cherishing the opportunity to savor the festivities, always remembering what is most important. I really love that we make such a point to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving. After all, a feast to remember the goodness of God is totally biblical…way more than the extent we actually observe!! If we were really following the example set in Scripture, we would be having these kind of feasts many times a year! But the beauty of remembrance (at the very least on this one big day a year) is so special. 

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I’ve never known a year before that I had so many hardships and sufferings to be grateful for! I know most people think of all the good things, the blessings, the positives of the year to thank God for. But I have seen yet again this year how blessed I have been through the pain. How much joy and peace Jesus has afforded through the suffering. How many smiles have been born out of the tears. I wouldn’t have been able to see His face quite so clearly if it weren’t for the grief, or heard His voice so clearly if not for the pain. I think C.S. Lewis’ said it well in his book, The Problem of Pain. He said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” How true it is. If it weren’t for the darkness, we wouldn’t fully appreciate the light! Without the pain, we couldn’t fully enjoy the blessings. It is through the shattered glass of suffering that the light of grace can dance in all its colors!

This Thanksgiving, don’t forget to thank Jesus for each and every blessing: even the painful ones! 

No comments:

Post a Comment