Merry Thanksmas, y’all; get ready to celebrate | Faith | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | November 13, 2016 5:00 am
Last Updated: November 9, 2016 at 1:55 pm
Merry Thanksmas, y’all. Halloween is only a memory now and we’re headlong into that conglomerated holiday season that rides in on the Mayflower and out with jingling sleigh bells.
As holidays go, I like Thanksgiving. There just seems to be more time to actually take a holiday — maybe because it’s always a four-day weekend. Even though I enjoy Thanksgiving, I’m already thinking about Christmas. I don’t think I’m the only one in that boat. A stroll through most any retail establishment is proof.
When I was a little girl, this is the time of year my mother began repeating, “If your room is not clean, Santa won’t stop here.” There were probably other behavior modification persuasion tactics Mom used, but that’s the one I remember. It was time to be on our best behavior. If I wasn’t already, it was time to be a good girl so that good things would come to me on Christmas Eve.
My mother also often quoted the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem that begins with, “There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very, very good, and when she was bad she was horrid.”
The rest of that poem goes on to talk about the little girl doing something annoying like jumping on the bed. Her mother was not happy about it. I guess my mother could relate.
I suppose I always wanted to hear, “You’re a good girl!”
We’ve all made a lot of assessments about good or not good based on performance. I do it to myself quite frequently. If I finish a project before a deadline or without any errors, then I’m pleased with myself. It makes me feel pretty good and boosts my confidence on the next project.
If someone does something really well, like kicking a 50-yard field goal and making the extra point, we want to stand up and cheer. When we manage to stay on the bench the entire game and not get our uniform dirty, nobody wants to yell “Woo hoo, good job!” I think most of us spend more days on the bench than we do kicking field goals.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel good about myself if I haven’t done anything that warrants an accolade with the word “good” in it. There are days when I don’t get a single thing accomplished.
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are filled with stories about Jesus doing marvelous good things like giving sight to blind people, healing long term illnesses, making lame legs able to withstand bodyweight again, calming storms, and making dead people alive again. He performed miracle after miracle. All good.
There’s no way I can live up to all that good. Thankfully, my performance is not the basis for God’s love for me. Jesus’ performing miracles is not the reason God loved him.
Jesus heard God say, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). The significant thing about that is when and where Jesus was when he heard it.
Jesus was standing in the Jordan River, just emerging from the water after being baptized, when he heard his Father affirm that he had done well and was loved. At that point Jesus had not even turned water into wine. Not a single miracle. Yet, God was telling him, “Good job, Son. I love you.” The one thing Jesus had done that day was acknowledge he was there to fulfill the righteous plan of his Father.
It’s the same for us. We cannot earn God’s satisfaction or love. We get those things when we rest in His plan, rest in His activity, and rest in His performance.
Frankly, I could use the rest this Thanksmas.
(Nancy Davis attends First Baptist Church of Walterboro, where her husband Scott, is the minister of music. Reach her at email@example.com.)