Turkey with gravy. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes. Cranberry sauce. Sweet potato casserole. Pumpkin pie. Autumnal weather. Football. Family. The upcoming Christmas season. These are the things we love about Thanksgiving.
Family strife. Vacant seats at the table. A scarcity where there should be a bounty. The reminders of loneliness and need and grief that loom over the season like foreboding clouds. Black Friday. These are the things we hate about Thanksgiving. (Okay, so the Black Friday part may apply only to me.)
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
For that son who deliberately goads you, give thanks. For that daughter whose ears have fallen deaf to you, give thanks. For the in-laws who never quite accepted you into their ranks, give thanks. For the reminders of loved ones you have lost, give thanks.
These present sufferings, my friends, comprise key parts of your life, and your life is a gift from God. Give thanks. In all these you have experienced blessings; in all these you have been given opportunities. Give thanks. And all these things come from the sovereign hand of God, for which you should give thanks.
Thanksgiving is a choice, and is not – contrary to popular belief – an annual event. It should be a way of living, a way of breathing. Unlike living and breathing, giving thanks is unnatural, but it is critical to our inner life. Without thanks, we wither up spiritually. Thankfulness is a sacrifice.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name. – Hebrews 13:15
This is the practice of the common life in Christ, and in that life, it begins with the first thoughts of the day. Thank You, Lord, for life. Thank You for a new day. Thank You for rest. Thank You for the opportunities You are putting before me today. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for saving me. Thank You for promising never to leave or forsake me.
Thank You for Your creation, for the glorious sunrise, for the rain and for the clouds. Thank You that Your eye is on the sparrow, and yet You watch over me.
Thank You that my hope is in You and not in the things of this world. Thank You that You, and You alone, hold my future. Thank You for the people you have put in my life – for those who love me and those who present challenges to me. Thank You that, by Your Holy Spirit, I can reflect Your love and Your grace into each and every life I touch.
Thank You that You have forgiven me. Thank You that You not only have forgiven me but You remember my sins no more. Thank You that You have given me a testimony. Thank You for my new life in You.
Thank You that I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. Thank You that the blood that You shed for me has not lost its power. Thank You that You promise to complete the good work You have begun in me until the day of Christ Jesus.
Thank You for health. And when my health declines, thank You for Your healing. And when my days in this life come to an end, my life in You is only beginning. Thank You for the eternity You are planning for me. Thank You that I can trust You to fulfill Your promises.
Thank You for the love of my family. Thank You for my bounty of friends. And thank You that You have given me a voice with which to praise You. Let me ever sing Your praise, and may every day be Thanksgiving.