Do you see yourself in that mirror? I sure do. It is easy to praise God when times are tough; when you don't know where the next paycheck is coming from, when your child is sick and you don't know why, or when your loved one simply won't see their need for Christ. However, when times are good, and you have to admit that for most of us, especially in America, times are still pretty good, it is easy to forget God and to give thanks to ourselves instead.
Just look at how we celebrate Thanksgiving in America! We stuff ourselves with food, then more food, then still more food. We watch what we want to on T.V., we take a break from work, and then we go out shopping and violently try to get the latest gadget, even shooting each other for a good parking spot. What a way to start the Christmas season.
What will come of all this? Is judgment coming to us just like it did to ancient Israel and so many other nations that had rejected God and turned to idols? I don't know. Even when judgment was prophesied in Israel, it sometimes took decades or even centuries for it to actually come. However, it did come. And for us in this world, we know God will return someday to judge the world.
In the mean time, we need to examine ourselves and our hearts. Are we thankful? Do we see God as the giver of everything we have? What are we focused on as we approach the celebration of the advent of Christ's birth? I think we can all be encouraged by these words from the prophet Amos:
"Seek good, and not evil, that you may live;
and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you,
as you have said.
Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph."