Once In A Lifetime
“…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5:20 (NIV UK)
Next week, American families will converge at airports, brave the holiday traffic and travel halfway across the country to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones. It’s a time when we gather together to share our favourite foods, remember all the blessings we’ve experienced over the last year, and it’s an opportunity for us to cheer for our favourite [American] football teams (Go Chargers!)
But last year’s particular holiday season was special…You may not have realised that last year Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlapped. Because of the differences between the Jewish calendar and our Gregorian calendar, this occurrence is actually a ‘once in a lifetime event’. It won’t happen again until 79,043 AD. (By then, I hope to be celebrating Thanksgiving in Heaven!) This overlap is actually such a rare occasion that the media gave it a cool name: “Thanksgivukkuh!”
All joking aside, that title got me thinking about the similarities between these two holidays. All Americans know that William Bradford declared the first Thanksgiving in 1621 as a feast thanking God for the Pilgrim’s survival through a harsh winter and the blessing of a bountiful harvest. But what you might not know is that Hanukkah is also a celebration of God’s divine intervention.
In 165 BC, after retaking the temple, the Hebrews realised that they only had enough oil to light the menorah for a single night. This lamp, however, miraculously burned for a whole eight days! Again, a holiday was declared to commemorate God’s singular intervention on behalf of his people…
But unlike Thanksgivukkuh, God’s presence in our lives isn’t just a “once in a lifetime” event. He has promised always to be with us. In the Gospel of Matthew, just before Jesus ascended into Heaven, Christ told his disciples: “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 16:20 NASB). Now that’s really something to be thankful for.
Holy Father, thanks be to you through Jesus Christ for everything that you have given us, physical and especially spiritual. It’s easy to see the physical; more difficult to recognise the spiritual. But we thank you for both in Jesus’s name.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.