Thanksgiving. Gratitude. Thankfulness. Appreciation. Gratefulness.
When the month of November arrives, those words begin making their way to the front of my mind. Because Thanksgiving is much more than a holiday; it is an attitude that overflows into action. An attitude I want to have. Action I want to do.
Since writing a series on thanksgiving last year, God has continued teaching me about gratitude and rejoicing. In all things.
So I’m going to write another series on thanksgiving, and rejoicing. Not so we will just learn more about these, but so these words can move from our minds to our hearts, and change us. Change me. Change you.
The word “thanksgiving” seems pretty self-explanatory as to it’s meaning. Thanksgiving means giving thanks. But because each us has had different experiences when it comes to thankfulness, we each probably have slightly different ideas about it’s definition and expression. What it means. What it looks like. Its purpose.
So together let’s look to God’s Word and explore thanksgiving throughout Scripture. For there are riches in expressing thanks…
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we are told to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Thanksgiving. In all circumstances. This is God’s will. For thanksgiving turns our eyes to our good Father. And when our eyes are focused on Him, we are both humbled and uplifted.
Thanksgiving humbles us because it gives God the glory. As Psalm 69:30 says, “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.” In giving thanks, we are recognizing God’s working in our lives. That it is He who provides and protects and sustains. We see what we used to take for granted as precious gifts from the Great Giver.
We are to come into God’s presence with thanksgiving. And through thanksgiving, we come to see His presence more fully, as we glorify Him and notice His goodness and love. So we are also uplifted, knowing that our God is will us; that we can enter into His presence through the gate of thanksgiving.
Thankfulness is a mark of Jesus’ transforming love in our lives. Our deserts have been turned into gardens, our wastelands now bear the fruit of God’s Spirit. And with thanksgiving we praise our Savior for His redeeming, restoring and renewing of us.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture about giving thanks is Psalm 107:
Can you relate to any of these situations? Have you seen God’s might hand move in your own life and save and provide?
Give thanks to the Lord for He good and His love is never-ending! He hears and rescues and redeems and gathers and transforms and gives belonging and guides and forgives and heals… I could go on…
True thanksgiving must be given, it must be expressed, it must be voiced. For true thanksgiving is not only recognizing but also proclaiming God’s character and His displaying of that character through His deeds. His love shown in kindness. His might shown in providing. His power shown in healing.
As we see the power of giving thanks, it is no wonder thanksgiving is God’s will for us. And yet, it is a wonder. A wonder that the God of the universe would gift us with such a beautiful way to interact with Himself. For that, I am filled with wonder. For that, I am filled with gratitude.
As I write this series on the blog, I will also be sending out a series of emails focusing on thanksgiving, with weekly Scripture readings, journaling pages, and Scripture art. Subscribe so you don’t miss out!