Still can’t find Thanksgiving.

For weeks and months we saw displays for Halloween, from costumes to candy, from cards to countless decorations. Everywhere we looked for several weeks our eyes were exposed to the trappings of Halloween.

Then, before the Halloween displays could be removed or sold on the 50% off tables Christmas took over. In some stores I have seen Christmas displays for months now. “We don’t want to miss out on those Christmas dollars.” I noticed that Wal-Mart is getting a jump on black Friday, that day right after, what is that other holiday, oh Thanksgiving, by offering black Friday prices on their website three weeks before black Friday even arrives.

But what in the world has happened to that other holiday? The one called Thanksgiving. it has become the forgotten holiday. I don’t recall seeing even one display devoted to thanksgiving. I’m sure they’re out there but I don’t remember seeing any. Maybe it’s because they are so few and far between.

So why in the world have we lost Thanksgiving? I suppose part of the blame lies at the feet of merchandisers. Stores just can’t get enough sales generated from Thanksgiving so they push it to the side in favor of the big dollar holidays, like Halloween and Christmas. Isn’t it a shame how much we allow marketing to dictate values in our life. For some reason we fall right in line with the next merchandising promotion that is shoved in front of us as we frequent stores and businesses.

Another reason why we might be less excited about celebrating Thanksgiving is because it is the unselfish holiday. Halloween is so much about all the fun stuff we get to do in celebrating it and all the “sweets” we get overdosed with. It is pretty much a “get” holiday.

And Christmas has become the same type of celebration. Sure it is suppose to be all about what God gave to us in the person of Jesus, born on Christmas day. But how many really make that the center of their season. It is more about decorations, spending, gifts and parties. And to merchants this is the bread and butter of their entire year. So they promote it with every ounce of energy and ever conceivable means they can find. And we fall right in line with their plans and schemes.

So what ever happened to thanksgiving? I would like to invite you to join me in giving special attention this year to the forgotten holiday. It is forgotten because it is not so much about what we get but what we give. It is all about giving thanks and appreciation and gratitude to the God who is good, gracious and bountiful toward us, even when we don’t deserve it. Even when we lose him in the midst of all the other holiday celebrations and abuses.

Take special time to offer thanks to God for his goodness, graciousness and thankfulness. Celebrate Thanksgiving with all your heart.

Be a leader in your family to bring them to the same thanks and appreciation. Take some time to show your thanks to God in a special way that’s out of the box for you. Be unselfish with what the Lord has provided for you by sharing it with someone else.

Let’s refuse to march in line with the climate of our culture. Let’s determine to do everything we can during this time of the year, and all year long, for that matter, to be thankful, appreciative, self-giving servants of others. That is the key to true happiness.

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Great Day of Service

You are invited to join the entire New Venture Church that goes out into the community with serving feet and helping hands on November 29.

Here’s how it will all come together:

* We will gather briefly at TCMS for a time of prayer and communion.
* The kids will stay at the school and rehearse their upcoming Christmas program.
* Everyone else will pick up “Giving Bags” that will have $10.00 in them.
* You are asked to take the bag, with any other money you might want to add to the $10.00, and buy some personal items for the working poor of Richmond that are serviced through the ministry of Freedom House.
* After you have made your purchase then spend the rest of your time just offering random acts of service to anyone you might come in contact with. Or you might have someone in mind that you would like to serve.
* We will all meet back at the school at 12 noon and share a fellowship meal together and have the opportunity to share any experiences you might have had in serving others.
* Everyone is asked to pitch in their own food dishes for the meal and you can bring when you arrive at 10.
* The Giving Bags will be presented to the working poor at the Freedom House Christmas dinner in December.

Sunday November 29th will be a tremendous day of serving and sharing the love of Christ to our community.

Check out my previous blog entry on “Random Acts of Service”

For additional information on the day of service check out our project compass blog at this link. http://nvprojectcompass.wordpress.com/

Random Acts of Kindness

A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual or in some cases an animal. There will generally be no reason other than to show the love of Christ and to make people smile, or be happier.

The Bible encourages us to “do good to all people.”

  • Radio DJ Brent Farris KZST in Santa Rosa California has been sending his listeners out to do Random Acts of Kindness for over 10 years. They include, tipping the person at the McDonald’s Drive through window $100, paying for parking tickets of strangers, even giving $100 to a person who cleaned up after their dog in a park. He does it once a week.
  • The movie Pay It Forward is largely based on Random Acts of Kindness.
  • A book, Random Acts of Kindness, was released by Conari Press in 1993.
  • Established in 1995 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation promotes spreading kindness.

On Sunday, November 29, New Venture Christian Church is going to engage in random acts of kindness throughout the entire Midlothian area. We’re suspending our normal Sunday service to host our second All Church Service Sunday!

Each participant will be given a Giving Bags and an amount of money to purchase basic items for the working poor in the Richmond area to be distributed through Freedom House. Then we will all spend the rest of the morning performing random acts of kindness in the community.

At that same time our children will stay at TCMS and rehearse for their upcoming Christmas program to take place on December 13.

It will be one of the most exciting experiences of service you have ever participated in.

Have you ever just done a random act of kindness before, like pay the toll for the person behind you in line at the toll booth? Would you care to share some ideas with our readers so we can get our creative juices flowing?