Next week is Thanksgiving.
Many thoughts quickly come to mind, whether excitement or anticipation to be with family, savoring that delicious pumpkin pie, stress to clean the house, or maybe sadness because there will be an empty chair this year. Or maybe you’ll be making sure your meal is served early in the day so you can be in the line for stores that will be opening their Black Friday sale at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day.
Even though stores were decorated for Christmas last month and radio stations already play Christmas music, I’m going to try to make an effort to remember why we celebrate this holiday who’s meaning so easily is skipped over these days because of our society’s Christmas commercialism.
So I’m thinking back -back when the first Thanksgiving meal was served. Those pilgrims – the men and women who founders of our country – displayed their food on the tables to display all of their thankfulness. They were thankful for their harvest, the instructions the natives gave them, their new life, their new home. But when it all came down to it, they were thanking God for all of those things. They were thankful for all God provided.
They gave prayer of thanksgiving and praise.
“Go through His gates, giving thanks;
walk through His courts, giving praise.
Offer Him your gratitude and praise His holy name.
Because He is good,
His loyal love and mercy will never end,
and His truth will last throughout all generations!”
Because He is good, His love and mercy will NEVER END!
And how is there any way I can thank Him enough for all He’s given and provided for our country and for our family?
God’s Word says to offer Him gratitude and praise. Offer him. Offer – like a sacrifice?
I’m to offer Him gratitude as a gift. Oh, it’s pretty easy to be grateful when all is good in my little world and everything’s going the way I want it to. But offer Him gratitude when your child is struggling at school or testing his boundaries? When you have to wait? When it’s really difficult to love someone who hurt you? When someone who’s dear to you is fighting cancer? When our country and the world looks like it’s falling apart?
It’s so hard to thank God for those things. But a sacrifice isn’t easy to do either.
I recently read in a book how we can easily be pulled into the dangerous current of ingratitude. “A lack of gratitude manifests itself in fretting, complaining, and resenting – whether within the confines of my own thoughts or, worse yet, through venting those thoughts to others.”
But sometimes I think just saying “Thank You” for something seems such a shallow sacrifice compared to the sacrifice Jesus gave on the cross.
His love is so amazing because what He asks me to offer Him is simply gratitude.
Gratitude for all He is, all He’s made, all He’s given, all He’s done, and all He’ll continue to do.
Giving Him thanks is worship.
And when we worship with a grateful heart, we’re choosing joy. Nancy Leigh DuMoss writes,
“Over time, choosing gratitude means choosing joy. But that choice doesn’t come without effort and intentionality. It’s a choice that requires constantly renewing my mind with the truth of God’s Word, setting my heart to savor God and His gifts, and disciplining my tongue to speak words that reflect His goodness and grace – until a grateful spirit becomes my reflexive response to all of life.”
Let’s choose gratitude and joy, not just the month of November or Thanksgiving Day but each day!