By James Pence

James Pence

James Pence is minister of Pleasant Grove Christian Church of Martinsville.

Isimply love the last three months of the year.

Dressing up for Halloween was always fun, and I loved the turkey and fixin’s for November. Then in December you got blessed with all those gifts as a child.

What’s not to like about all those holidays, full of fun, treats and gifts?

And, yet, at least the last two should mean so much more than I believe they do to most of the world.

Take Thanksgiving, for example. In the rush to get Halloween behind us and get on with the materialism that has come to be associated with Christmas, this holiday seems to get the short end of the stick.

After all, there isn’t much you can do to decorate with it, unless you have a giant, blow-up turkey in your yard or multicolored feathers of fowl everywhere. You can’t shop for that perfect Thanksgiving scarf or tie for someone, and no one wants to put up a fodder tree full of moldy corn husks and light that up.

Thanksgiving just doesn’t lend itself to much festivity or gift-giving, and yet that is what I really love about it.

It is a time to examine your own life, your own family, your blessings and to take stock of how you are blessed in life. It is truly one of, if not the most, Christian of holidays we really have, because we should spend it reflecting on the grace and blessings we have received from the hand of God.

We thank God for health, for family, for friends, for more than enough food to share with those around us, and we thank him for his son and for the grace we have received from Jesus, even when we didn’t deserve it.

Psalm 107:1 reminds us, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

The late evangelist Billy Graham, who was born in November, once was quoted as saying, “God has given us two hands: one to receive with and one to give with.” We receive his blessings, and we, in turn, give to others out of the abundance we have received freely from the Lord.

One of the greatest things we can do is to be thankful for what Jesus has done for us on the cross and then to share that truth with those we meet. We can thank God for a hope beyond this life and a future home in Heaven with God, the father, Jesus, his son, and loved ones who have gone on before us.

Truly, we have much to celebrate this time of the year, but may we always know where to turn as we gather together to count our many blessings. Not just the last Thursday in November, but every day of our lives.

James Pence is minister of Pleasant Grove Christian Church of Martinsville.

James Pence is minister of Pleasant Grove Christian Church of Martinsville.

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