Thank you all for ordering this year’s Advent book. I wrote it almost a year ago and it is so fun to see it in print! We need to sell Advent books early to get them all shipped. Even though it seems our entire culture is rushing into the Christmas season, let’s not miss the JOY of November.
November has always been one of my favorite months. This month is usually a bit slower-paced because everyone is planning for December. I will celebrate a significant birthday this month, and it seems AARP, Medicare, and several more are hunting me down! But every birthday is a reminder that I have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. I view my lifetime as a road trip of birthdays that will thankfully and joyfully end at the gates of heaven.
November is also the month we celebrate my favorite holiday. I love everything about Thanksgiving. It is about all my favorite things: family, food, football, and faithful praise. I don’t want us to miss Thanksgiving just because Christmas is already front and center in the stores and in the multitude of ads and emails we all receive.
How can we be careful to enjoy and celebrate November before December arrives?
A month to offer God praise
Start by listing ten things that happened in 2023 that you were grateful for, and do it in the next two minutes. Go!
(No, really . . . list them now!) Everything else can wait.
How did it go? Was it easy, a bit tough, or maybe you wish I’d asked for seven or eight?
It’s often easier to be grateful in the moment, but if we allow those memories to fade we can lose our sense of the abundant blessings in our lives.
I was able to quickly list the first two on my list, but the others came after a few moments of reflection. I praise God that:
- My grandson’s treatments for leukemia were a great success and he is doing well.
- Our move to Tyler was exhausting, but we are settled into a home that we love, and we are excited for our first holiday season in our new home.
- Our ministry continues to receive amazing notes and words of encouragement that keep us motivated and excited to keep walking with God and following his lead.
- We enjoyed the blessing of seeing our Tyler-area grandkids play sports, swim in the pool, and just live their happy lives.
- Jim and I both experienced COVID this year, and it was NOT a big deal.
- Jim and I are older, with a few more aches and pains, but we are healthy and happy.
- My mom made the move with us and is now settled into a wonderful place that serves her with God’s love and God’s priorities.
- Life is expensive but usually well worth the price!
- We have moved to a new city, made new friends, and yet still love our other friends too.
- We continue to hear from friends in Israel who are doing fine in terrible circumstances.
Those were the big things that came to mind, but there are SO MANY seemingly small moments of life that God worked to create the circumstances listed above. I am thinking of the phrase “God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.” That has been true even when our circumstances weren’t that good!
When I struggle to praise God
We all have so much for which we can offer God praise. We also have a list of things we wish God would change or fix.
Somewhere in everyone’s life a loved one isn’t walking with God. Somewhere in everyone’s life a loved one isn’t doing well, isn’t happy, isn’t safe, or isn’t content. God is good all the time, but we aren’t. We aren’t good all the time because we aren’t always good, always perfect, always godly. Only God can be good all the time.
Some years our list of blessings is easier to write. Other years need more than two minutes.
Every November can be a month of praise
I was writing the entries for Wisdom Matters for the month of November. I had completed about one-third of the entries when I highlighted each one and hit “delete.” (THAT, by the way, is a PAINFUL thing for any writer to do!) I was getting November all wrong. I just wish God had brought that up a bit sooner. Or, maybe I just wasn’t listening to his leadership in the beginning.
I had been struggling to write before I hit delete. After I hit the delete key, the ideas flowed. I hope you will get the app and listen, even if just to November. God led me to rewrite so that I could talk about the blessings of offering our praise to God.
Why is praising God essential for our souls?
I can answer that question in just two verses. Psalm 95:1–2 says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”
Why can God’s children praise him this month? Why can we praise him regardless of our circumstances? Why should we praise him every day?
- God the Father, Son, and Spirit invites us to “come.”
- God tells us to sing to him because he is always, always listening.
- God tells us to bring our “noise” to him with joy.
- God reminds us that he is a rock upon which we can stand and be saved.
- God tells us that our praise of thanksgiving ushers us into his presence.
- God welcomes our noisy prayers and songs of praise.
- God wants to be near you, hear you, encourage you, and enjoy you each day.
November is a month for praise
Let’s commit these next weeks to the praise of God. Let’s “taste and see that the Lᴏʀᴅ is good” (Psalm 34:8). Let’s enter God’s presence each day with words of praise and words of thanksgiving.
God doesn’t need our praise. God wants us to praise him for our sakes, not his. When we praise God, we enter his presence, approach his throne, and stand on the rock of our salvation. It is from that rock that our healing and hope will come.
It’s only two weeks until Thanksgiving. When the table is set and the meal is prepared, may all of us know and say, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3).
November is a perfect month to praise the greatness of God. May our praises be a fragrant offering lifted to our God. May our praises fill us with his joy.