A friend of mine recently commented about how, with Thanksgiving coming, she is trying to learn to thank God even for “the hard stuff.” She’s basing her belief on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
There’s no doubt that Christians are supposed to be a grateful people. There is so much to thank God for—his love, mercy, righteousness and goodness, our salvation, one another, his coming reign on earth, answered prayers, not to mention the endless blessings he bestows on us day by day, often ones we hadn’t even thought to ask for. For example, when’s the last time we thanked God for the air that we breathe? We hardly ever think about air, unless we’re in danger of suffocation or drowning!
Ghosts are dangling from neighborhood porches. Scarecrows and pumpkins litter lawns, assorted witches fly their brooms into sturdy tree trunks, and costume stores have sprung up all over town. Love it or hate it, it’s almost Halloween.
When it comes to celebrating Halloween, Christians are incredibly polarized. Some (such as the Church of England) consider Halloween to be a “religious festival just like Christmas Eve.” Others condemn the holiday as pagan and satanic.
Sitting in church a few months ago, I watched as the guest speaker scanned the crowd, then asked, “How many of you are leaders?”
A few hands went up. He shook his head, “No, you are all leaders! Every hand should be up! Everyone repeat after me: ‘I am a leader!’”
The congregation dutifully repeated “I am a leader!”
I’m sure everyone paid close attention to the sermon that followed. After all, leaders get more attention. They get privileges the rest of us miss out on. They’re important. Don’t we look up to leaders? Think more highly of them? Don’t we all want everyone to think of us that way?