Greetings in the name of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It brings me great joy and happiness to greet you and to usher in this time of year, the Christmas season, or to be politically correct the holiday season. I pray for each and every one of you in this county who are reading this article and those of you whom are miles away. I pray that you may have a happy and joyful season this Christmas. I’m praying, as well as God, would invite you to go to church listen to the words of the Bible, pray each day, and accept Jesus as your Savior, remember it’s His birthday, and give Him the gift of your eternal salvation by believing in Him.
I’m especially thankful for living in this great nation the United States of America. Where we, as Americans, have the freedom to do the job that we want, or not work, to attend church, or not attend church. Where we have the freedom of choice whether to join the military and defend our country, or not. This country is full of heroes not mentioned in many stories or articles, but each one important for the duty they’ve done to serve their country and to keep the freedoms that we have endured since 1776 alive and well today.
I’m thankful for the founding fathers and what they done for this country writing the great Declaration of Independence. I’m thankful for the many that came before me, my forefathers and ancestors as well as the American Indians who defend this great nation against tyranny and oppression and the rule of England, France, Spain, Japan, Germany, Mexico, communists etc. Now I’ll be the first one to admit the United States of America hasn’t always done everything right or good in the eyes of God, but in my travels around the world, there is no place like United States of America — if you don’t believe me visit another foreign country you’ll see.
I’m thankful for freedom of speech, in fact that freedom is why I’m writing to you this day and I’m allowed to use the words Jesus and God and religion. I have the freedom to say such things and invite you to church to accept Jesus as your Savior, but at the same time the newspaper has the right not to publish these words, if they choose to. I enjoy the freedom of not having to submit my sermons for weeks in advance prior to me preaching them to get approval for the words that I’m going to say in church, like they have to do in China.
I’m thankful for the right to assembly, or should I say the freedom of the right to assembly. Many people around the world have to meet in secret to worship their God as they see fit. On the 17 mile drive from Man to Logan I can count 30 places of worship, each unique and diverse. There are many different denominations and independent churches unique and different how they worship God. Each one of these churches seemed important at the time, enough to build a church and give a place for people to come and hear the words of God. Somebody many years ago had a great vision that things like this should be done for future generations, now the generation has come our ancestors could not of been completely wrong and I’m thankful for that.
I’m thankful for freedom of religion; this day and time were referred to as a Christian nation. Whether you profess to be a Christian or not, you live in the United States of America which is considered to be a Christian nation by other nations around the world. On that note, you have the ability to be targeted by Muslim extremist terrorists from around the world, not because of your belief; it’s simply because of where you live. This is prejudice, not based on skin color, not based on economic class, but just simply being an American makes you a target. Our president and our government want us to not be afraid, and that’s right, if you live in fear the terrorists have accomplish his or her job. In fact if I was a person who didn’t consider myself to be a Christian, I would re-examine the fact that I’m going to be judged because of where I lived anyway, so I might give Christianity a try, just to spite does mean terrorists. That’s like saying during World War II that every German was a Nazi or that every person who lived in Russia was a communist during the Cold War. Believing in something and accepting it as your own, when you’re going to be judged by the rest of the world, seems to be common sense to me.
You see I love United States of America my father my brother and three uncles defended it, my great uncle stormed the beaches at Normandy, I’m proud of each and every one of them as well as the others who helped this great nation, but let us not forget just because we don’t see it out our front window or hear the shells bursting over our heads that things are not happening around the world which can take our freedoms away. When people lose their freedom of religion that is unfortunately when they want to become religious.
I am most thankful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for what He done for me and others on Calvary. The ultimate sacrifice for love, I can love because He first loved me. Because of that love I’m able to love my family, my church family, those that hate me, those that want to take away my freedoms, and those that don’t look or believe like me. I can love and forgive, just as Jesus for gave me. Each and every day should be a little Thanksgiving in our hearts, when we pray over our meals, our children, our concerns, our sick… don’t forget to mention the things that we are thankful for to our God, Amen.
Rev. Kevin Farmer is pastor of Claypool United Methodist Church and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association.