As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day we probably remember past times of being together with family and friends and enjoying a good meal and good fellowship. We may even remember times when everyone was given the chance to give a reason why they are thankful.
When we think of those times we are usually encouraged and thankful for them. There is something special about giving thanks. And it is even better when it comes from a habitually thankful heart and attitude. For many years now psychologists and others have been hailing the power of gratitude as a way of being happier and healthier people.
The Bible was way ahead of these students of human nature and what makes us tick. One of the most often recorded instructions in Scripture is “give thanks”. And when we do that, we are our happiest. It isn’t just that we need to be thankful for all God does for us and praise Him for it, it is what it accomplishes in our minds and hearts and how it affects our lives.
Earlier this year I read a book by Christine Carter called “The Sweet Spot.” The author is a professor who teaches, among other things, how to be happy. And one major topic is how to be thankful, to develop an attitude of gratitude. Now this is not a Christian book, in fact the author is more likely to quote some eastern religions than the Bible. But, in spite of that, she confirms some of the reasons why Bible believing Christians are happy (as well as generous and kind).
As I mentioned, the scriptures are replete with examples of gratitude and with encouragement to be thankful. Look at these verses:
2 Samuel 7:18 [ David’s Prayer of Gratitude ] Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?
Acts 24:3 in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
As you read this you may be saying at this point, “yeah, I think I have heard all this before. And what about this verse or that verse?” By the way, do you have a favourite verse on giving thanks?
God’s will for us is that we be thankful. As we practice gratitude, we will be happier and healthier. We do not need modern thinkers to tell us this, we know it from experience. So, what is the point on this thanksgiving? Give thanks. Even if the present pandemic has caused problems for us or our families, we need to be thankful for the help we have from God and from our communities. The people in your “bubble” have been there for you.
Everyone has been adversely impacted by the pandemic, but God has been our help and sustainer. Give thanks to Him for all his love and care. Friends and family have been with us to assist in troubled days. Be sure to say ‘thank you’ to them as well. For all in our communities that have served us or just sat and talked on the phone to alleviate our lack of connectedness, let’s express our gratitude!
In all that we have been through or are going through: isolation, illness, bereavement, unanswered prayer, financial difficulty or more positive things with the aid of our family, friends and community, it behooves us to be filled with gratitude for God and His blessings.
It is good to praise the Lord
and make music to your name,
O Most High,
to proclaim your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
and the melody of the harp.
For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord;
I sing for joy at the works of your hands,
how great are your works, O Lord,
how profound your thoughts!
God designed us so even the expression of gratitude provides benefits for us, physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. Not because psychologists have said so but because God knows, has always known, exactly what we need to be happy. So, God knows that being thankful is good for us and then many times over in the Scriptures He commands us to give thanks and be full of praise and gratitude. And that triggers the blessings He has meant for us all along. Do not miss out on the blessings God has intended for us as we are thankful and praise Him.
Don’t forget to thank each one who has been there for you in these days. Don’t forget to thank God who has provided all our needs in Christ Jesus.
Enjoy a wonderful time of Thanksgiving!