Perhaps more than any other time of the year, the months of November, December and January provide opportunities for each of us to commit to being better and doing better.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day provide opportunities for us to focus not only on the purpose for each occasion but to examine ourselves to see if our actions are properly aligned with the true purpose of the celebration.
There is a gospel song that says, “Every day is a day of Thanksgiving.” The expression of gratitude, especially to our God, is a daily act, not just the fourth Thursday in November.
The hymns “We Gather Together,” “Come Ye Thankful People Come” and “Now Thank We All Our God” are just a few of the musical selections that complement religious services in our faith houses and family gatherings to enjoy the day and share the love and comfort of having people in our lives to give thanks.
Thanksgiving is a time to reinforce our appreciation for the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. There is another hymn that reminds us to count our blessings and name them one by one. Count our many blessings and see what God has done.
What are some of our blessings? I am glad you asked.
How about the blessings that include life and all of the remaining family members in our lives, a reasonable portion of health and strength, a job, a wife/husband, children, grandchildren, a roof over our heads, food and clothing?
Now you add to the list. Hopefully this reminds us of the true purpose of Thanksgiving that we were blessed to enjoy one more time.
Sadly, this time of year accentuates the illnesses and death of some of our loved ones. We do not always know what others are going through. Nevertheless, we can always speak words of encouragement. Regardless of the time or circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one or friend, Richard Puz reminds us that “Death leaves a heartache no one heal (except God), but love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
To be purpose driven is to be driven by God’s purposes and not our own. I read somewhere that all of the ways of a man or woman are pure in his or her own eyes, but God looks at our motives. No sooner than we wash the dishes from our Thanksgiving meal, some people in America transition to the purchases of Christmas and other gifts. Christmas decorations are up or going up. Drop-ins and other gatherings are being scheduled and hosted in the midst of the singing and playing of Christmas carols, hymns and other festivities that complement Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other important occasions.
If there ever is a time for us to have our character mirror the purposes of this season, it is now. Reverence, worship, adoration, praise, honor, respect, truth — all are in need of being lifted up and modeled throughout our nation and the world.
As I write this column, I am fully aware that some of us are not believers and our faith believers are diverse. Yet, all of the major religions of the world have adopted as a part of their discipline their version of “The Golden Rule.” That is, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I respect that very much. Moreover, I respect the fact that being purpose driven has everything to do with God’s standards for men and women.
Without question, His Word during this season and at all other times should be “a lamp for our feet and a light for our path.” Let us have all that we do be acceptable in His sight.
Too, let us throughout the remainder of this 2019 calendar year and all of the 2020 year and beyond allow Him to order our steps.
Allie E. Brooks Jr. is the former superintendent of the Florence One Schools district and the former principal of Wilson High School.