-Tyler Normand, contributing writer
The leaves are changing their colors, the days are growing colder, and people are debating whether it is too soon to listen to Christmas music or not. While it is true that Thanksgiving does not have catchy carols like Christmas, I feel that Thanksgiving should not be lost in the anticipation of Christmas’ arrival. For Thanksgiving, we take a few days or a week off from school or work and usually spend at least one of those days enjoying the company of our families, eating a meal with them, maybe watching or playing football, and thanking God for the many blessings He has and will provide.
As much as I love Thanksgiving, I struggle with the very concept itself, for it is difficult to be thankful at the bottom of a hole. There is this hole I have been digging. As time passes by, the hole gets deeper and deeper. Each mistake equates to another jab of the shovel into the earth. Maybe I failed my test for a difficult class—shovel some of the dirt away. Maybe I let a few of my friends down—take away another inch. Maybe I gave in to a temptation I have been struggling with—take away another six feet. As bad as I wish to climb out, it seems like I will forever fall short of reaching the top. I have come to realize that this hole is a result of my sinful nature. Give the hole a headstone, and it becomes my grave. It is hard to be thankful when you are sitting in your grave.
But that is what sin does; it attempts to conquer us. It beats down on us, reminding us that the payment for its presence is death. The more plentiful our sins, the deeper we think our grave is, and the deeper our grave, the less hope we have of being free of its grasp ever again.
In the words of a dear brother of mine, “There is no grave too deep for Christ to pull us out of.” The full magnitude of that truth has brought me hope. Christ died to pay those wages that our sins carry, so they are no longer our wages to pay. If we believe that we do not have to pay them, then we do not have to die. If we do not have to die, then our graves are rendered useless. We are free from the oppression of the grave. We are free from the wages of sin. We are free to live fully in Christ without fear of death.
And for this, for Christ’s redeeming love, I am eternally thankful.