It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and I’m busy getting ready for the kids’ school luncheon, planning what I’ll bake and looking for Egg Bowl tickets because that’s all my teenager wanted to do for her birthday.
I now have a teenager. Did I mention that?
Time flies when you’re having fun. Or having babies. Or both, I guess.
Anyway, as I look toward the day we here in the U.S. set aside for giving thanks, I’m struck by how easy it is to get so wrapped up in the holiday that we sometimes forget the reason for it.
I mean, surely I’m not the only one who has spent too much time on Thanksgiving morning planning my Black Friday shopping list?
Sometimes we can’t stop thinking about what we need or want long enough to give thanks for what we have.
But does that even matter?
What’s the big deal with Thanksgiving anyway?
Why is Thanksgiving so important?
Because Thanksgiving is more than just a day set aside in late November for the consumption of turkey and pie.
It’s more than a gathering of family and friends.
And so much more than an opportunity to buy electronics at low prices.
Thanksgiving is a way of life.
Or at least it should be.
Because does it really matter how thankful you are on the 4th Thursday of every November if you aren’t grateful on the other 364 days in the year?
We were never commanded to eat turkey and give thanks then go on about our way and forget the goodness of God.
Thanksgiving is God’s Will for You
The Bible says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Do you hear that? God’s will for you is to give thanks. It’s what he wants you to do! Not just on Thanksgiving Day but every day, in everything.
Ephesians 5:19-20 command us to “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our praise is tied to our thankfulness. In fact, we’re told in Psalm 100:4 to enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving.
It’s the way we’re supposed to come to him….with gratitude not just for what he’s done but for who he is.
That’s why 1 Chronicles 16:4 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”
We always have a reason to be thankful because he is always good.We always have a reason to be thankful because God is always good.Click To Tweet
That’s why we can have gratitude in the midst of grief.
It’s how having a grateful heart helps bring peace. That’s the promise of Philippians 4:6-7, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Gratitude helps us focus our hearts on him, and he is always enough.
I’ve been doing the Bible study No Other Gods by Kelly Minter, and I’m amazed at the power of stopping to be grateful for God’s gifts.
Just take a moment and compare and contrast the stories of Hannah, Leah and Rachel.
Hannah asked God for a son. He gave her one, and she rejoiced in the Lord. Not in the gift.
God gave Leah a son, but all she longed for was love from her husband.
Rachel finally got the son she sought, and all she could say was “May God give me another.”
After her fourth son, Leah finally rested in the Lord…until she started striving again.
I wonder what would have happened if she had just kept being thankful for the gifts she’d already been given?
I wonder what would happen if I would do the same?
This week, I encourage you to stop and give thanks. Not just because there’s a holiday coming but because God is good. All the time.
Please, join us this week for Encouraging Word Wednesday!