“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
As we prepare for Thanksgiving here in the U.S., we are grateful for this opportunity to pause and reflect on the blessings and goodness of God that we’ve experienced throughout the year! We know it’s always a “thanksgiving season,” but we value this designated time set by our nation to STOP and GIVE THANKS! How extraordinary an opportunity and certainly to be treasured when you consider the battles we’re confronted with to preserve such holidays as well as our Christian heritage!
This morning as I began my quiet time, I was reading the devotional from yesterday from Sarah Young’s book, Jesus Calling. This really caught my attention: “THANKFULNESS takes the sting out of adversity. That is why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances).” This is supernatural and our natural mind can’t comprehend it! It’s beyond our capacity to understand in the natural how this can even work, but God, our loving Father, gives us this command so we can walk in freedom and peace!
I realize that holidays can be difficult for many people. They struggle during this season for numerous reasons: loss of a loved one, illness, loss of job or provision, fear of the future, unpleasant or destructive things that have occurred at holidays, and multitudes of other things that come to rob them of a thankful heart. But God’s Word “commands” us to give thanks in all situations! This doesn’t trivialize or oversimplify anyone’s grief or circumstances, but instead it’s an encouragement to step into the divine exchange–your sorrow, fear, oppression in exchange for His joy and peace! There are no restrictions, no burdens, no captivities, no oppressions, no circumstances too difficult–nothing is exempt from this Truth! The focus on your adversity will defeat you whereas the focus on the Lord and a thankful heart will free you!
We had a friend years ago that said Thanksgiving was generally a time for dysfunctional families to come together, do their dysfunctional thing, and then end by sitting around eating pumpkin pie. This is sad but often true! Maybe words of thankfulness would help to dismantle the dysfunction! As you begin your Thanksgiving Holiday, and as you embrace this time of “thanksgiving,” be challenged to move into a new place of thankfulness that embraces each moment with a heart as well as words that express thanks in all situations. Be sure to tell your friends and family members how thankful you are for them, even those that know how to “push your buttons.” Pray for those in the Body of Christ who are buried in thankless attitudes. And above all pray for those who don’t know the Lord, that they will come to experience and encounter the greatest reason in the world to be thankful–the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ!
Have a Joyful Thanksgiving!