With the rise in cases of Covid-19, health officials have been warning us not to get together to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
I’m thankful for leaders who work to protect us, I pray for them. But I wonder. What is the cost of minimizing the risk to our physical health?
What about our mental and spiritual health?
Luke 15 tells how the tax collectors and sinners “gathered around” Jesus. Seeing this, the Pharisees (which means “separatist”) muttered against him. In response, Jesus told three parables in which something was lost, a sheep, a coin, and a son. After each was found, there was, you guessed it, a celebration.
When the shepherd found his lost sheep and the woman found her lost coin, no explanation was needed. Everyone knew why they had to celebrate. “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” Jesus said.
But when his younger son was found, the father had to explain his joy to the older son. “We had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
When Jesus brings someone home, it’s a cause for cosmic joy.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day didn’t understand. Most people today don’t understand either.
Jesus described our ultimate future as a great banquet where he is the host. When we gather for the Lord’s Supper, we get a taste of the joy in our ultimate future. And when believers gather for Thanksgiving, we get a taste of that joy as well.
When we gather to celebrate, there’s a health risk.
When we fail to gather to celebrate, there’s a soul risk.
Sometimes you have to celebrate.