by Dale Reeves
Biblical scholar and professor Clement Clarke Moore composed the most iconic Christmas poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” (also known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”) for his children in 1822. No doubt many people will read this to their children and grandchildren over the next month. With gratitude to Clement Moore for his wonderful poetic gift, I offer my rendition on the day after Thanksgiving . . .
’Twas the day after Thanksgiving, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, no one had yet roused.
The plates were still stacked in the sink with little care,
In hopes that an angel would soon answer the prayer
To visit the kitchen and roll up his sleeves,
And wash the dishes that were as thick as thieves.
The parents were still snoozing in their food-induced slumber,
The kids were just waking, and they had them outnumbered.
They jumped on the bed and created such clamor,
It seemed as loud as a deafening jackhammer.
As the parents woke up, wiping the sand from their eyes,
The kids screamed, “Wake up, you’re in for a surprise.”
They sauntered downstairs and turned on the lights,
To view the leftovers in the fridge from last night.
There’s turkey and dressing and a bit of pumpkin pie,
But all the milk for cereal has gone bye-bye.
Then one of the children shouted, “On the porch there’s a surprise.”
The package was delivered from a well-known franchise.
Then out the door burst the youngest of the clan,
As quick and nimble as Jackie Chan.
He grabbed the package that said Amazon,
And tore open the carton like Genghis Khan.
The children all stared into the inside of the box,
Not knowing if they’d find some blocks or Christmas sox.
“It might be a red fox,” said one child, “or some magic rocks,”
Another chimed in, “or some dark chocolate from Brach’s.”
A little squealed out, “I think it’s three bears and Goldilocks,”
The oldest shouted loudest, “An old-school boombox.”
Then Mom added, “I don’t think so, kids, could it be botox?”
And Dad wishfully hoped for a brand-new toolbox.
As they pulled out the wrapped package, their eyes widened with glee,
They wondered why this box had not come down the chimney.
Inside the glittery paper, wrapped so neatly and nice
Was a well-worn Bible filled with time-tested advice.
The writings inside seemed to be from the past,
From generations gone by, these truths were unsurpassed.
The Good Book fell open to Colossians three, verse fifteen,
“Let the peace of Christ in your hearts be always seen,
Since as members of one body you were called to peace,
Be thankful always, let your gratitude never cease.”
The youngest asked, “You mean it’s not just one day of the year,
That we can celebrate Thanksgiving with joy and cheer?”
“Oh no,” said the momma, as she smiled from ear to ear,
“Thanksgiving is an attitude of gratitude, my dear.
We can take this feel-good mood of love and mirth,
And keep the celebration going as we ponder Jesus’ birth.
This year has been so tough, that’s plain for all to see,
But God has never left us, that’s the reality.”
God spoke his words of life and breathed life into each soul,
He sent his Son to die so that we would be made whole.
He gave us his Word, and his promises he has kept,
He asks us to respond to his gift and just accept.
The box he gives to us is life so full and free,
He’s given us redemption for all eternity.
In All Circumstances?
In his recent article, “Thankful . . . in All Circumstances,” in this year’s November/December issue of Christian Standard, retired senior minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, Bob Russell, shares:
“One of the most difficult commands in Scripture is this: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV). We are not commanded to give thanks for all circumstances, since there are some things for which we are not grateful. But even in those circumstances we can thank the Lord for his promise that all things work together for good to those who love him. The importance of giving thanks in all circumstances was demonstrated by the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving. Consider what our forefathers had endured the previous year. From our pampered perspective, they didn’t have much for which to be thankful.”
In this article, Bob shares how in the late summer of 1620, 130 Pilgrims embarked on a hazardous, 3,000-mile journey from England to America, where they would be free to worship God without government interference. The Mayflower accommodated most of the passengers and the Speedwell carried most of their supplies. They had to return to port twice because the Speedwell was taking on water. The Mayflower encountered a tropical storm, and they had to plead with God to spare their lives. Everyone got seasick, and they had to contend with rats and insects ravaging their food. After 65 agonizing days, they spotted land, some distance away from their projected target. A flu epidemic swept through the brave Pilgrims the first winter, and half of them died. But on that first Thanksgiving, when they paused to thank God for his goodness, they didn’t dwell on all the lives they had lost, but rather quoted from Psalm 100.
“Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.”
—Psalm 100:3, 4, NIV
Bob concludes, “Could you praise God for his goodness if half of your loved ones had died? Could you shout for joy if you were one of 50 people scraping to survive in a terrifying territory with no guarantee you would live through the next winter? . . . The Pilgrims knew it was not about them; it was about God’s will, and it was about the welfare of their descendants. That’s why the Pilgrims were thankful. Their sacrifice had paid off. Their children, grandchildren, and future generations had hope.”
To read the entire article, click here:
On this day after Thanksgiving, may God grow in us a grateful attitude of thanksgiving for all circumstances, knowing it is not all about us, but about seeking his will, as we pass on this thankful spirit to our kids and grandkids.
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:3, 4, NIV).
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV).