Thursday, November 26, 2015

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Millions of Americans are on the move right now. It's part of the annual Thanksgiving migration. They'll get to experience turkey on the table today and turkeys in those traffic jams! Speaking of turkeys, the President will pardon two today. Last year's were named Mac and Cheese.

My friend Bev said that she's baked ten pumpkin pies. Tons of folks will watch Macy's big balloons – and then later feel like one of those balloons after pigging out. And tomorrow, stores will be stormed with people that camped out in parking lots just so they could get that coveted Black Friday bargain.

I'm thinking about the people who aren't here this Thanksgiving. Some friends who have slipped into eternity recently. Their passing has reminded me of my own mortality – and, in some cases, how quickly it can all be over.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Thanksgiving Goodbyes."

Doing Thanksgiving against that backdrop has made one word loom very big – cherish. My big dictionary says "cherish" means to "hold dear; treat with tenderness and affection; to keep or guard carefully; to make much of."

So this Thanksgiving weekend, remembering how fragile life is and how close eternity is, I'm cherishing my dear ones. Oh, I always love them, but I'm thinking more about what it means to "hold them dear," to "treat them with tenderness and affection," to "make much of them."

I have so many blessings and so many kindnesses to thank them for, so many strong points that they have to affirm in them. Yeah, and some things to apologize for. To cherish someone is, as God says, to "live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us" (Ephesians 5:2). Cherishing – giving me up for them.

And I'm cherishing my days a little more, too, this mortality-shaped Thanksgiving. Like the Bible says to do in our Word for today from the Word of God, Psalm 90:10 and 12. "Our days...quickly pass, and we fly away...Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

Weeks and months, and even years, just seem to fly off the calendar. Right? I'm pretty sure there are only about a hundred days now between Christmases. There are just zero days to waste. Each new day is a treasure from God to be invested, not just spent. I need to sit with Him before I hear any other voices and find out His desires for this day, "the day (the Bible says) the Lord has made" (Psalm 118:24).

One other "cherish" for me this Thanksgiving – my destination. Heaven seems a little closer with each friend or loved one who goes there. It's the place Jesus said He was going Home to prepare for those who belong to Him. All the earth-stuff that we cling to so tightly is just so trivial. Because the Bible says "our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20) and we're really (it says) "aliens and strangers in the world" (1 Peter 2:11). This isn't home. It's Hotel Earth.

When I've been away, I love to come home. But after all is said and done, home isn't so much the place; it's the person I love who's waiting for me there. Knowing each day I'm one day closer to eternity, I am cherishing the eternal destination Jesus made possible. But it cost Him His life! He made it possible by His awful death but His awesome resurrection. Not so much because it's such an amazing place. But because the One who loves me – like nobody loves me – is waiting for me there.

I can't put into words the peace there is in knowing beyond any shadow of a doubt that I am going to heaven when I die. Not because of anything I've done, but because of what Jesus did on the cross. Wouldn't you like that peace, that assurance, that security?

I'd love to point your way home. That's why we have our website, and that's why I invite you to meet me there at ANewStory.com. Or maybe you want to talk with someone about what it means to begin this awesome relationship with Jesus. Well then, text us at 442-244-WORD.

Home for this Thanksgiving? Home is a relationship you were made for and the love you were made to experience. His name is Jesus. So, this Thanksgiving, come on home.