Some people give thanks with prayerful words. Some love to sing songs of praise to God. Still others show thankfulness by their actions. However you give thanks, it is good to remember that sincere thanks comes from gratitude in our hearts. After all, a begrudging thanks is not really thanksgiving as much as it is an obligatory acknowledgment of something good that has come to us. Real thanksgiving flows from the God-given faith we have through God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, our thankfulness is joyful, as when David saw how God’s love had moved the children of Israel to oversubscribe to the temple building project.
“Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” I Chron. 29:11-13
If you take a look at the entire chapter of I Chronicles 29, you will quickly discover that in his thankfulness, David was humbled, shocked and amazed!
Other times, sincere thanks comes through tears. Life can be so hard. And sometimes, God can seem so very far away. For many people, the holidays aren’t filled with joyful thanksgiving and cheer. Instead, they’re full of pain and suffering, perhaps even with a gnawing, aching reminder of what was lost—or what never was. In these times of suffering, a heart of gratitude means more than just saying “thank you.” It means believing that God is who He says he is. Believing that He is good, that He is love, and that He is for me. Believing that He never changes, that He never fails, and that He is working all things for what is good.
You or people you know may be struggling in very difficult situations this Thanksgiving. Some are facing their last days on earth; some feel very much alone, and others are facing huge fears. In these circumstances, it is tough to sing a song of thanks. Instead, our prayer may sound something like this: “Lord show me Your face and your grace! I thank You for being my God, and today I am in the pits!” The psalmist prayed like this many times:
“But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!” But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay.” Psalm 40:16-17
No matter what your circumstances, you can give thanks to God, in every good day and in every bad day! Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday to encourage people to remember to be thankful. It is a good reminder. As we gather with family and friends and thank God for our lives, food, friends, and faith, may we always do it with gratitude!
Have a blessed and full Thanksgiving!