By Hannah Childs
November 22nd, 2017
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV) 5th century BC”
There shall be “a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God….”
-1789 US Congressional Proclamation
“A holiday for celebrating faith, family, and freedom, Thanksgiving Day is both distinctly Christian and exclusively American,” says Barbara Rainey in her book, Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember. (This is excellent resource to see God’s hand in our history + public acknowledgement of Him.)
The idea of “Giving Thanks” is in perfect alignment with the scripture, and you can see King David modeling oodles of gratitude to God throughout the Psalms, or Paul in his epistles, reminding his readers that he gives thanks to God upon every remembrance of them. (Philippians 1:3) In fact, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Paul tells us to give thanks always, in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.
But what if things seem hard, or there’s lack, or prayers of faith seem to go unanswered?
Well, we can still always give thanks because of God’s great love for us. Psalm 63:3-4 (NKJV) says:
“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.”
Of course, this can seem like one of those platitudes that’s easier said than done. When challenges arise, it’s easy to focus on the storm. Yet, when we intentionally start focusing on what we have to be thankful for, we actually start thinking of more and more things to be thankful for! (Though life doesn’t feel brief on the difficult days, if we can keep in mind the short span of this life in light of eternity with Jesus, it helps to bring some perspective.) And the act of expressing gratitude has seemingly magical powers – the saying goes that it can turn an ordinary meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend, and a husband into a hero.
One key reason to have an attitude of gratitude is that God tells us to do so for our own benefit. He knows it will help us to see with the right perspective. When I pray, “Give me eyes to see” and God says “Give thanks” before I see it, He is giving me eyes to see. He is answering my prayer by telling me how to develop eyes that see. Give Thanks, He says.
That really helps me to pursue the discipline of gratitude. To drop and give 20 — 20 gratitudes that is, when things seem challenging. If you haven’t tried it, you might be surprised about how well it works to make a list of 20 things that you can be thankful for right now, and to be thankful for what God says is yet to come. It’s a chance to show our Papa God our faith and trust in Him. Then look at your list and remind yourself what you have to be thankful for.
There’s a simple but endearing song by Don Moen I sometimes sing about giving thanks:
Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One,
Give Thanks, because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son
And now, Let the weak say “I am strong”
Let the poor say “I am rich”
Because of what the Lord has done for us.
Give thanks, with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One
We give thanks to you O Lord. We give thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for you! With love from your family in Christ at Stonewater Christian Fellowship
PS – I enjoy looking up scriptures about gratitude – Here’s a short list.
Give Thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 (And HIs mercy is new every morning!)
In all things, give thanks! 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus)
I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness. Psalm 7:17
Let us come before Him with Thanksgiving. Psalm 95:2
Do not be anxious for anything but in everything by prayer and Thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. Phil. 4:6
Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name make known His deeds among the people. Isaiah 12:4
Give Thanks to the Lord for He is good, His Love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
While you are enriched in everything for all bountifulness, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. (Jesus!) 2 Corinthians 9:15 (A gift too great for words!!)
This is the day that the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it! Psalm 118:24