Okay, the delay is now over, and with bated breath I am pleased to announce our first annual Thanksgiving Creative arts contest winners! All three winners will receive a bag of Starbucks coffee! I am sure all of you have been anxiously, collectively, nail-bitingly holding your breath for this announcement, so without further adieu: Here are the contest winners and below please find their submissions, which they so kindly and thoughtfully submitted. They are not in any specific order or placement, but rather as I chose them. Thank you all for participating in this first annual event, there will certainly be more to come so stay tuned!
1) Rebecca Tekautz
My friend begins singing Christmas carols and the shopping mall is a cacophony of twinkling lights, Santa, and gift displays. It is October.
“Respect the turkey!” I say firmly to my friend and to the world in general. I have a rule: No Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving. I am not a scrooge. I am not anti-Christmas. I am simply pro-Thanksgiving. I cringe as I watch the spectacle of Christmas encroach upon the season of thanks.
I am not the first to note the contradiction in the biggest shopping day of the year coming immediately after the day we give thanks for what we already have. Or that our eagerness for the best deals is resulting in more and more stores opening their doors on Thanksgiving day. We’re turning Thanksgiving into “Thanks, I’ll take it!”
The breath we take to give thanks is being suffocated by our cry for more. We are creatures of infinite want. There is always more. More to accomplish, more to do, more to have.
Thanks requires stopping, becoming still and noticing that which we already have. But we are much more comfortable in moving, seeking, finding the new and the better. It’s no wonder, in a culture that spends billions and billions of dollars annually in advertising to show us the latest “new and better,” that we easily buy into the lie that more will make us happy. It is the hallmark of advertising: This is it. This is what you have been searching for. This is the thing that will fill the void at last.
Our searching is spilling into our season of stopping. Stopping to take a breath, to look around at the blessings we have, recognizing that enough is already here. More stuff will not fill up the void. More stuff is only a distraction from our deepest need. Finite things can never fill the space that was meant for an infinite love.
As we enter the holiday season, let’s stop and remember that this is the season of Infinite Love coming to earth. There is nothing more we need. God’s Best has already come to fill up the void. Before we get swept up in the joyful season of gift-giving, let us first stop and offer our thanks for all the gifts He has given us. Let’s not let the rushing of the wants crowd out the moments to stop and offer thanks. As Psalm 136 declares over and over, “Give thanks. . .His love endures forever!”
2) Jeff Carter: “Sunlight in the Apple Tree”
3) Kaitlin Shadle
“”Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever!”