By Bob Bunn
Every year, my daughter and I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade together. We started when she was a young teenager, and it’s continued now that she’s a young adult. We take our places on the couch and talk about everything. We offer our own honest and insightful commentary you’d never hear on the networks.
She tells me about the younger celebrities I know nothing about, and I tell her about older celebrities she’s never heard of. It’s a lot of fun and one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions.
I do recognize the hard work that goes into pulling off the parade yearly. Along with the volunteers working the parade route, a small army of “balloonatics” also design each balloon. Plus, another group inflates the balloons (which takes about ninety minutes each) and paints them once they are inflated the night before.
So, why do so many people go through all this trouble? The cynical answer would be advertising and promotion. But there’s also another, more noble, reason: celebration. The individuals who plan and execute the millions of details do it to help people celebrate Thanksgiving. They make it possible for people like my daughter and me to create a tradition and make some memories.
Today’s passages from 1 Chronicles occurred in the context of a parade and celebration. For years, David had longed to bring the ark into Jerusalem. This was the first step in a bigger plan to establish the city as the center of worship for the one true God. It was a plan that would eventually culminate in Solomon’s temple, but it started with David bringing the ark “home.”
And, for him, that was more than enough reason to celebrate.
As part of the celebration, David recited a psalm, a hymn of gratitude and praise to God. The core of this song in 1 Chronicles 16:8 emphasizes both the vertical and horizontal impact of praise and thanksgiving.
Vertically, David said the Israelites should give thanks to the Lord and call on His name. In a world filled with pagans and idolaters, the king wanted Israel to remember their Creator and to reflect on all He had done for them. God made them. God loved them. And God deserved all the adoration they could muster.
Nothing has changed today. Horizontally, praise and thanksgiving provide a testimony to His goodness and salvation. As we “proclaim His deeds,” we reveal Him to a watching world. We show people who need to know who He is and what He’s all about.
For many, Lent represents a time of mourning and repentance. That’s valid. But it can also be a time of praise and thanksgiving as we embrace what Jesus did and how we can share His message with others around us.
Leave it to God to transform something as somber as Lent into something as glorious as Easter. Even in the dark, He gives us reasons to celebrate.