This is a special Thanksgiving. My first thought of gratitude is that my oldest son Ryan, remains “cancer-free.” My second: Another wonderful new daughter in law, thanks to my youngest son, Craig. A lot has happened since last Thanksgiving and I can rejoice because God has seen us through a tough, yet joyful year – making it a blessed year. I love Thanksgiving. I love the food, the family, the football and the reminder that being thankful is a fundamental ingredient to faith. The Bible uses a version of the word “thanks” 151 times, but speaks of being grateful many other times as well. One of the best ways to trust the Lord for today and tomorrow is to remember all that He has done in the past. Thanksgiving is a good time to remember – and rejoice. But, in addition to being grateful for what God has done, we need to be grateful for who God is. This Thanksgiving, let’s take a few moments to think about that and give thanks.
Hebrews 12:28: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…” God has created for us an eternal home which is permanent and free of conflict or sin. Nothing in heaven can be shaken, so heaven will always be a kingdom of peace and comfort. So we worship God, with reverence and awe, and with thanksgiving – because He has promised us heaven as our eternal, unshakeable home.
Psalm 107:29-31: “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.” How many times did God speak to you last year, through prayer, a sermon or as you read a passage of the Bible? How many times was there a catch in your spirit when you were about to make a choice – and because of that quiet urging, you made a different choice? How many times did he still the storm, and calm the waves so that you would not be overwhelmed? I think if we were more aware of God’s continual guidance, we would find it easy to praise him for his unfailing love and wonderful deeds. God is the perfect parent, watching over his children – guiding us to a haven where we can survive the storms. God led me to several of those havens last year and my heart is filled with gratitude for his loving kindness. Take a moment and remember your “havens” of this past year – and thank God for leading you there.
1 Chronicles 16:34: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.” God is always good. God is always perfect. God is always love. And God will always be all that and more. There is never a moment we are not loved, and there never will be. Thank God because his love for you is flawless and forever.
Psalm 95:2: “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving;” I used to think of approaching God as Dorothy approached the Wizard of Oz. In some ways it isn’t a bad analogy – except that God has taught us how to approach him in his word. As we bow our heads at the Thanksgiving table – let’s go to the deep, quiet place of worship within our souls – and say “thank you.” Then realize that you have entered the Holy of Holies, God’s presence. He will be pleased you invited him to your table.
George Herbert was a poet, an orator and an Anglican priest. He wrote beautiful poetry and hymns. I love his prayer/poem of thanksgiving to God. “Thou has given so much to me . . .Give me one thing more – a grateful heart.” May all of us pray for the same.
I wish you and your families a blessed Thanksgiving.