“Count your many blessings; name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

The other night I was having trouble sleeping. Some people say that sleeplessness is a part of the aging process, but I am too young for that to be the problem, so there must have been another reason. Pretty soon I was having a real pity party. In my mind I was going through a long litany of problems and things that were wrong in my life. Then all of a sudden the words of a song I thought I had long forgotten came into my mind. Try as I would I could not get these words out of my consciousness.

Those words were: “Count your many blessing, name them one by one, count your many blessing see what God has done.” I began to do that and pretty soon I realized just how much God has blessed me. The next thing I knew it was morning. When I awoke I wanted to finish my list. I soon realized it could not be finished! God’s blessings are really without number!

Maybe what I came to understand is the true meaning of what Thanksgiving really is: being thankful for the good things God gives us and not allowing the problems that we incur become the things that control us and give us our identity. When we dwell entirely on the negative we lose sight of the positive.

By the way here are some of the things that topped my list. 1. Jesus Christ-God loved me enough to send His Only Begotten Son to be my Savior. 2. The beauty of creation-God looked at all God had made and indeed it was very good. [Geneses 1:31] That goodness has not been totally overcome. 3. First United Methodist-Galax- I am blessed to serve a church that loves the Lord and cares of each other. 4. The portion of health that I enjoy-my health problems are not getting any worse. 5. Family-I thank God for those who love me, sometimes in spite of me.

I am also very thankful for friends, for our new Daybreak Worship Service, and the fact that three different people have told me within the past month that we are a friendly, warm, caring congregation.

May we all begin to count our blessings and realize just what God has done for us. May we do this not just on the fourth Thursday of November but each and every day we live.



“But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 NRSV

What difference would it makes in your life if there were no Christmas? I few years ago I attend a Youth Service in which this question was the theme. As the young speakers spoke on this topic I found myself really caught up in that question. What difference does Christmas make?

One answer is to get involved with the commercial aspects of the holiday and say that the merchants would be hurt economically. It seems as if Christmas is exploited commercially more and more as stores put out Christmas merchandise and put up Christmas decorations earlier and earlier. I think I saw some before Labor Day this year. Christmas shopping has become the main money making time of the year. This is shown by the whole “Black Friday” craze. Originally the day after Thanksgiving was called Black Friday because sales on that day are counted on to move the profit margin out of the Red, signifying loss, into the Black, signifying a profit. However now stores open on Thanksgiving evening or even stay open all day! So if Christmas had not happened there would be no Christmas shopping and the merchants would suffer.

Another answer comes on a deeper spiritual level and that is to say that if Christmas had not happened Jesus would not have been born. For on that first Christmas a Savior was given. Emmanuel came to redeem captive humanity. The Incarnation proves that God loves us enough to become one of us in order to save us. For without Christmas there could be no Easter. IF Jesus had not been born then he could not die on the cross and been raised again so that we could have a right relationship with. A relationship not marred and separated by sin.

Sadly not everyone knows this, or if they know about the meaning of Christmas they live as if they just do not care. For a majority of people spiritually it is as if Christmas had not happened! It seems that this was the case right from the start; the vast majority of people in Bethlehem that night did not have a clue as to what was happening. I rather imagine that many of the guests at the inn complained about the noise in the stable. After all there were shepherds coming and going and then there was that pesky star light shining so brightly that they just could not sleep. And the greatest gift the world has ever known went unappreciated.

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas story is what Luke said about Mary in the verse quoted above. She pondered these things in her heart. For me this says that even though Mary did not fully understand what all this meant, she knew that the birth of Jesus was something special and Mary knew that Christmas had changed people’s lives forever.

So this year take the time to ponder the true meaning of Jesus’ birth in your heart and do not get caught up in the buying and getting, the shopping and the giving and the spending, that you cannot enjoy the season. For if Christmas had not happened we would still be lost in our sins. May we all let the words of a great Christmas hymn give us guidance as we “go tell it on the mountain, over the hill and everywhere: go tell it not the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.” If we do that maybe everyone will say: “I would not like my life if Christmas had not happened,” and then the world will be a better place.