I noticed it happening a couple of weeks ago. My Facebook feed began filling with pictures of families that had put up their Christmas trees and other Christmas decorations. Each picture was accompanied by a similar statement saying, “we’ve never put out our Christmas this early, but felt the need to do it this year”. In a year that has been difficult for many, it felt like Christmas needed to come earlier this year. Even if it came before Thanksgiving.
I have a friend who has done this for a few years. His family Christmas tree goes up immediately following Halloween and his house is mixed with Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations. He calls it “Thanksmas” For him, what many people are experiencing for the first time, is a normal yearly occurrence. Thanksgiving and Christmas meet in a blend of decorations, music, and table celebration.
You might not think that “Thanksmas” should take place every year, but this year it seems appropriate. In a year of uncertainty, tension, conflict, sickness and loss, we need some hope. We need to be reminded of the hope that Christmas offers. This hope that this world is not all that there is. The hope that a Savior was born two thousand years ago in a manger in Bethlehem to bring our salvation and to guarantee our future with him. The hope that we will live, one day, in a world where there is no grief, pain or loss and all will be made new for eternity. The hope that there is a better way to live today, as we follow the teachings of our Savior and love and serve our family, neighbors and friends.
This Thanksgiving, where it can be challenging to be thankful, we can be thankful for the hope that Christmas offers. The greatest gift ever given was given to us. It’s a gift filled with love, joy and peace and a gift that will change our lives and our world if we will only let it. Jesus, the greatest gift ever given, provides the hope that keeps us going in the difficult times and provides our purpose when life seems purposeless.
As I write this, on the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving, I’m sitting next to the Christmas tree in our living room. Our family needed “Thanskmas” this year. We needed to be reminded of the joy and hope that comes as we celebrate the arrival of the greatest gift ever given.
This year, we need “Thanksmas”. We all need to be thankful for the hope of the Christmas story and the gift that has changed our lives for eternity. Hope is here. Christ has come. We are thankful.