At our family’s house, we walk into the living room, drop our coats, and kick off our boots as the aroma of Thanksgiving fills our senses. Momma Shores has her apron on, stirring the gravy, while the aunts are setting up the buffet with stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls and (my favorite) an assortment of pies! One of the uncles is at the end of a table carving the bird while the kids chase each other around the house. We are so aware of how blessed we are to celebrate Thanksgiving together!
This year may be a little different.. We aren’t sure if this familiar setting will be the case for our family holiday meal. Even so, there is a lot to be thankful for this year. Thankfulness requires having a heavenly perspective. Sometimes we become aware of how thankful we are in a moment, like I described earlier being in a house full of love and good food. But many times it takes stepping out of our current situation and looking at the bigger picture in order to see that we have much to be thankful for in Christ Jesus.
This isn’t always easy. Life gets tough. Terrible things happen. We get sick. People lose jobs. Loved ones pass away. Yet, we are called to give thanks in all situations.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1Thes. 5:18
The question may arise, “How can I give thanks in this awful situation?!” I think a better question is “Why am I to give thanks in this situation?” Before we answer that, it helps to know something about our loving Heavenly Father.
God doesn’t need our thanks. God doesn’t require our thanks because He needs our edification or for us to obey Him so that He can prove that He is God. You see, God doesn’t need us at all! However, He created us because He wants us. He loves us. He died for us to make a way for us to have a relationship with Him. Now, if that’s the kind of God who asks us to give thanks in all situations, and He doesn’t need us to give thanks… who benefits from the thanksgiving? We do!
The answer to why we need to give thanks is because it is good for us to find the things that we are thankful for, especially when it is difficult to do so. Thanksgiving is a response to recognizing that God is good, even when things are not good. We desperately need that reminder in times when it’s not easy to be thankful. God knows this about us and it’s why we have more than 80 verses spread throughout scripture with “thanksgiving” in the text and even more with the concept of being thankful.
This holiday season, make it a point to search out the things that God has done in your life that make you thankful. Do a search for how many verses encourage us to give thanks to God (https://www.openbible.info/topics/thankfulness). Consider the things that He has spared you from. Focus on the truth that God loves you and Jesus has died for you, and that if you believe and follow Christ, God’s Spirit lives within you! Now, there are three things we can all be thankful for every day as Christians!
Blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving season!