Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

The Birth of Thankful Suffering: A Holiday Mash-Up

I’ve been busy editing my Easter devotional, Reflecting Easter: Living and Understanding the Resurrection while marketing my Christmas devotional, Savoring Christmas.  (I bet if someone leaves a comment asking me to, I’d be willing to post a picture of the cover of Reflecting Easter). It should come as no surprise that working on both has once again led to my holidays being a little confused.

Bear with me as I mix them up even a bit more by adding Thanksgiving to the mix.  Hard to believe it was just a week ago, isn’t it? It seems like we get ready for the day, buying the turkey and fixings but also spending as much time getting our hearts ready. Many post something they’re thankful for every day in November up until Thanksgiving.

And then here we are, in that land between when we really start celebrating Christmas and when Thanksgiving becomes a long-lost memory as we chuck whatever leftovers remain from the feast.

I think there are many of us who don’t want to carry that grateful attitude into advent because we’re entering a season that is deemed joyful, yet carries bitter scars for many. Some watch the sappy Christmas movies and mourn being single (okay really, just how did Hallmark come to decide that Christmas is about romance and love? Apparently I’m not the only one confusing holidays!). Others know that all the cousins or in-laws will be descending upon the house and grateful just isn’t the word that comes to mind. There are countless other reasons convincing us to celebrate Christmas throughout the month of December while giving Thanksgiving a few tryptophan-ingesting hours.

But let me mix it up a little with this holiday mash-up. You see, as I’m focusing on Easter right now, I’m reminded yet again that the one who’s birth we celebrate is the same one that said he had to suffer (Luke 16:21). Did you catch that? His suffering wasn’t optional. Funny how we’ve come to assume that ours should be, though, and when the suffering comes, the thanksgiving normally ends. But check out when 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to give thanks:

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

All, as in even with when the in-laws are staying with you for much too long. I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact, I may or may not have texted one of you last week saying that a perk of being single is that I don’t have to deal with in-laws anymore. Sorry to rub it in, but that piece of thanksgiving comes readily for me, but I’ll have other ones that won’t feel as comical.

So here’s our challenge: even when things get chaotic in the next few weeks as we bake too many cookies, scramble to find great deals or scratch our heads trying to figure out what to buy for that impossible person, let’s commit to mashing up the holidays by giving thanks to the One who was born to suffer.

Stacy Voss

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1 Comment

  1. Oh gosh, Stacy. What a profound insight to consider. “The one who was born to suffer”. Yes, I will surely give thanks in this mishmash season for Him- THE gift, and for all the other extraordinary gifts I fly over and through and forget. Thank you for this profound message and Paul’s charge and challenge to us all.

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