The Core of Thankfulness
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Another Thanksgiving is upon us and I am ready for the break from routine that it brings. I love this holiday because of its simplicity. Thanksgiving does not have the marketing or commercialization as other holidays like Halloween or Christmas, which may be why it seems to get lost in our current cultural moment. Instead, it is built around being with family and friends and orienting our hearts and attitudes in a positive direction. A direction of thankfulness. We should never lose sight of or skip this holiday. It is good for us to give thanks.
We give thanks for many things during this holiday season, or at least we should. Many of the things we give thanks for are temporal things or provisional things. Ask any child or adult what they are thankful for and you will hear answers like, family, friends, shelter, toys, food, job, etc. This is right and good because every provision that we have is supplied by God, our Maker. Many Puritan prayers also reflect the thankfulness of the temporal things in life. Take this brief passage from a prayer of thankfulness in the book Valley of Vision:
I bless thee for:
the body thou hast given me, for preserving its strength and vigor, for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs, for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
And it continues on about tangible, practical things for which to be thankful. But I am especially thankful for something else this year. Something else that I read in Psalm 103 just the other day. It’s neat how sometimes when we read a passage, each time we read it something new jumps out at us. And for me, this happened specifically in vs 10. This time reading it, it gave me pause to be especially thankful during this season. Listen to what David writes:
“He does not deal with us according to our sins; nor repay us according to our iniquities.” Ps 103:10
Did you catch that? God does not deal with us according to our sins. He does not repay us according to what we actually deserve. Wow. If that statement doesn’t generate thankfulness and love for Jesus this season, then I don’t know what would! Bless the Lord because in his great love he sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sin that we deserved and gives us life everlasting if we repent and believe. Thinking about this truth will certainly stir a heart of gratitude and thankfulness.
So, while we gather with family and friends and give thanks for all that we have been given, don’t forget to be thankful for the spiritual realities that we have as believers and for the unfathomable character qualities of our God. For by them, your soul is secure in Christ and you can be truly thankful. Maybe start by reading and re-reading Psalm 103!
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