Summary: 4 principles that can make holidays something special.
MAKING HOLIDAYS, HOLY DAYS
November 20, 2005
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Video Introduction, “Be Thankful” from Sermonspice
Video scene is set in a kitchen where people come and go by themselves and we hear their thoughts. Each one is complaining about something someone has done or what they have to do for others or even God. It closes with words appearing on the screen that tell us what we can be thankful for.
Thanksgiving is the beginning of an important time of year. This time of year brings out the best and worst of people. Generosity seems to peak during the winter months. People give to the Salvation Army and shelters. They pack toys into shoe boxes and send them to a 3rd world country. They buy gifts and send cards, bake bread and cookies to give to their neighbors. But they also wrack up more debt than at any other time of the year.
• The average American has four major credit cards with an average total credit card debt of $9,000.00.
Now, add to that those that a sucked into the minimum payment plan scheme and you have a recipe for financial disaster. Did you know that if you have a balance of $3,900 and you pay the 3% minimum it will take you nearly 42 years to pay off the debt, and those monthly payments would total $14,530.44.
Cicero said, “Thankfulness is the foundation for all other virtues.”
• Fanny Crosby, the great hymn writer of 8,000 plus hymns in the last half of the 19th Century used to describe herself as "the happiest woman on earth" , though blind since she was six weeks old. She wrote 17 hymns included in our hymnal including, “To God Be The Glory” and “Blessed Assurance”.
Thanksgiving has for years been overshadowed by shopping, football and food. And Christmas grows more commercial every year. Next week Advent begins. Advent season covers the four Sundays prior to Christmas and therefore with Christmas being on Sunday this year—Advent this year is the longest.
How can we observe this season of the year in a meaningful way? Let’s look at a story Jesus told in Matthew 25 to discover 4 principles and then make 4 applications of truth.
1. Give simply
a. Food for the hungry
b. Drink for the thirsty
c. Compassion for the down & out (stranger, prisoner, sick)
2. Give to what touches you
a. The sheep who were commended had no idea that they were doing something extraordinary in the eyes of Jesus, they simply were acting on the things they saw.
b. Keep your eyes open.
• If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of one hundred people; here’s the way the world would look:
There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere, and 8 Africans.
50 would suffer from malnutrition and one would be near death. Only one would have a college education, and only one would own a computer.
80 would live in substandard housing.
70 would be unable to read.
6 would possess 59% of the world’s wealth and all 6 would be from North America.
We attend church without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death. We are better off than 3 billion people in this regard.