We are at a very special time of year. Thanksgiving has passed and we are about halfway to Christmas. Thanksgiving was a time to remember how God has blessed us in the past and Christmas will be a time to remember how God blessed us with the birth of Jesus Christ to be the one who would “save His people” (Matthew 1:21).

Thanksgiving in the New World was first practiced at the colony in Jamestown, Va., and later in Plymouth, Mass., by the Pilgrims. George Washington, responding to action by Congress, established Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1789, and it has been celebrated since that time with some changes in dates.

In part, Washington declared, “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me 'to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.'”

Washington recognized that national blessing and protection came from being a godly people. We as a people would do well to remember his statement. There is much going on in our country today that is certainly not characteristic of a godly people. However, there is also much to be remembered in terms of blessing and protection for which we can be very thankful. The freedoms that were bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers to an industrious people have resulted in prosperity beyond anything the world has ever seen.

As we anticipate Christmas, the greatest blessing in the history of mankind was given to us by almighty God. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus Christ and his subsequent teaching is often called the “Good News.” What is this Good News? The angel proclaimed to Mary that, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32).

An angel also appeared to the shepherds at this time, proclaiming “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). The Good News is that from the earliest days of history, God had promised that there would be one who would be a savior to his people and Jesus Christ was that Savior (Genesis 3:15, Matthew 1:21).

Who is this redeemer or savior? His followers soon recognized as a result of his teaching and his miracles that, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33). Jesus Christ told us just how great this Good News is, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Those who “believe in Him” will have a very special Christmas and have something very special for which to be thankful.