As I was loading up this morning I began asking myself the question that this holiday season induces – “what I’m a thankful for?”
However, before we can answer that question can I just make a statement on how ridiculous my Jeep looks right now. If a random stranger was asked what we were doing they would assume we’re moving away for a few months by the sheer amount of stuff that we’re packing for FOUR DAYS. Four days people. If this were The Walking Dead I could live out of my car for weeks and fend off most Zombies…I digress…
Around dinner tables everywhere this question will be asked. What are you thankful for? Some of us will answer authentically. Some of us will lie. Others of us will answer with a touch of humor to avoid getting to intimate with our reply. While many will just give a rote reply of thanks without any depth to it. Lastly, if we’re honest, some of us have had extremely hard years with hospital stays, loss of loved ones, relational conflict, health issues, etc. and we’re just not sure if we can even be thankful.
I think a good question to ask before “What are you thankful for?” should be “What should we be most thankful for?”
The Scriptures speak often of thankfulness. We see the Psalmist say to us, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1) and Paul encourages us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18).
A handful of quick thoughts before you stuff yourself full of grandma’s thanksgiving feast.
- We are called to be thankful TO God and FOR God. We don’t just GIVE our thanks to him, he is the REASON for our thanksgiving.
- The root of thanksgiving is found in his presence, goodness and love.
- Thanksgiving must be practiced. We don’t just stumble into being thankful, we must cultivate it with a life of thanksgiving.
I just want to challenge you to reflect on God and be thankful for who He is, the character he possesses and the love that he shows us, especially the love he showed us through sending his son Jesus Christ to die for the sins of the world.
When we are most thankful for God it allows us to be appropriately thankful for the other gifts he’s given us. Yes, let us be thankful for health, relationships, food on our table – for they are from God himself – but let us frame that thanksgiving with a heart of thankfulness found in who God is and what He’s done.
For those of you who are hurting in this holiday season, I grieve with you. I’ve experienced the pains you are experiencing and surprisingly my wounds still feel fresh despite there being time and space in between our most recent trials. I wrote about thanksgiving in those seasons and how I had to fight for it and I challenge you to do the same. You can read those posts here or here. I’m praying for you, but most importantly know that God is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) and is the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-5). Fight for thankfulness by leaning into God and remembering these beautiful truths about him.
This Thanksgiving let’s be authentically and genuinely thankful. Let’s not lie, or avoid the question due to awkwardness, or respond automatically with a stock answer. Be thankful for… friends, family, health, food, your favorite Netflix show, or This is US (best show on TV right now just for the record), Nutella, cold weather (for once if you live in Texas), our children, the time we had with a loved one who’s no longer with us, a fresh brewed cup of coffee, the smell of rain, the stars at night, good music or a warm bed.
Yes, be thankful for these things, but above all, be most thankful for God.