As we fast approach this wonderful, long awaited Day, Christmas, what better time is there to remember the meaning of the need for and the joy in giving thanks! Christmas reminds us of the culmination (climax, apogee) of God’s goodness, love and mercy towards His sinful human beings. Why? Because He, God, had such great compassion on human depravity (corruption, evil) that He sent his only begotten (created) Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to teach us the way to salvation; and not to teach us only, but to show HOW to use power. He clearly and perfectly demonstrated the use of power—power which comes only from God and must be used always and only for good, never for evil.
All of us, whether rich or poor, high or low, have some measure of power over other people and things. Even five-year olds have power over their younger siblings or playmates. In his month-long series on Thanksgiving in the Daily Observer, Fr. James Selle, Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, has been explaining the meaning of, how and why to give thanks. It seriously affects, even determines, our relationship with God.
In this fourth segment in the series, published as usual on our Religion page last Friday, Fr. Selle focused on what we should give thanks for. Let us pause here to give thanks to Fr. Selle himself, who since 2005, when the Daily Observer was re-launched after 15 years of publisher K.Y. Best and his family’s exile, has faithfully written and presented to our readers his column on various aspects of Christianity—what it means to be a Christian, who Christ is, what was His mission when he dwelt on earth over 2000 years ago. Fr. Selle also constantly explains why Christians are called to be Christ-like, by emulating His examples of love, kindness, mercy, faithfulness, humility and goodness to ALL with whom we come in contact, making the best of the powers, gifts and other blessings God has bestowed upon us.
In his weekly column, Fr. Selle has also constantly taught us the importance of being thankful not only for our favorable and happy moments and days, but also when things turn bad, desperate, fearful and even tragic. As he did in last Friday’s column, Fr. Selle
frequently quotes Thessalonians 5:17 and 18 and Romans 8:28, two of St. Paul the Apostle’s Epistles (Letters), which admonish us to give thanks in everything. This is even when our friends betray us or our enemies hit at us, even to the extent of attempting to destroy us.
We can be sure that so long as we maintain a posture of thanksgiving and hope, founded on our faith in the Almighty God, we will in any and every circumstance prevail. This is manifest even in our National Anthem, written by Daniel B. Warner, our third President. He wrote, “With God above our rights to prove, we will o’er all prevail!” It is useful to add, at this blessed, hopeful Yuletide (Christmas), the rest of the stanza in our National Anthem, “With heart and hand, our country’s cause defending, We’ll meet the foe with valor unpretending . . .”
Let us all approach this Christmas and New Year with truly thankful hearts, minds and spirits. It is distinctly possible that God, seeing our thankful hearts, minds and spirits, will help us in the coming year to choose a new leader who will make a true and decisive difference for the better in our lives and the life of our beleaguered (long-suffering) country, Liberia.
Let us with truly thankful hearts and hope in His grace and mercy, believe that God has already spotted and chosen for us a leader who will FOCUS not on himself and those in his immediate circle, but on the supreme interest of the people and do everything possible, under God, to lift Liberians from their slumber, dependency, poverty and powerlessness into a purposeful, progressive, prosperous and self-reliant people and nation!