Reasons to Give Thanks. Thanksgiving, 2019
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Thanksgiving Day is a day that prompts us to stop and think of being grateful ~ for our God, family, friends, faith! and generally-blessed lives. Oh sure, we talk about being grateful throughout the year, but to have a day set aside for it is brilliant! You know, a long time ago, Americans really were a thankful people. Pilgrims first came together on American soil in 1621 to thank God for helping them bring in a life-sustaining harvest. "Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together." Edward Winslow, governor of Plymouth colony
Those early Americans did what God-fearing people do--they recognized that 'All good gifts come down from the Father above'. Because of that, they stopped to thank God. Already by 1623, giving thanks had become an annual religious observance, and then in 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared an annual national Thanksgiving observance. So, for 156 years, our nation has officially stopped to 'give thanks'.
Let's bring this down to a personal level ... I have noticed that when I rightly view my humble station before God, I can only have a thankful heart.
'Remember the old Andrae Crouch song-My Tribute? It expresses my thoughts this morning so well:
"How can I say thanks for the things you have done for me? Things so undeserved, yet you gave to prove Your love for me. The voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude ... All that I am, and ever hope to be I owe it all to Thee.
To God be the glory, to God be the glory for the things He has done-With his blood he has saved me, with his power he has raised me, to God be the glory for the things he has done!
Just let me live my life and let it be pleasing Lord to Thee, and if I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary ...With His blood he has saved me, with his power he has raised me, to God be the glory for the things He has done." I love that beautiful song.
It would seem that being mindful of God's great love and his many gifts-apart from spiritual things -- things like eyesight, hearing, a voice, health, a home, family, clothing, food to eat, a car to drive, etc.--I would be walking around constantly filled with gratitude, right?! I wish I could say that am.
Unfortunately, I get sidetracked. I get distracted by life. Life reminds me I am not as young as I used to be, that there is always more work to be done, that marriage is not always easy, being a mother can tax every fiber of my being, and being a pastor and coming alongside people in their muck, and loving them-well, it can rip my heart out! And so, being grateful to God can slip my mind.
One thing I have noticed -- a sense of entitlement is mutually exclusive to a life of thanksgiving. When my teenager slips into a sense of entitlement, it is destructive. When people feel 'entitled' to have this, or do that, or go there, gratitude slips away. Or is it because gratitude has slipped away, that a sense of entitlement takes its place? Which comes first? Something to think about.
When I choose to be thankful, when I have a spirit of gratefulness-when I am fully aware of how much I have for which to be grateful-I am a different person. Humble, aware, filled with joy and awe, that God should think of me, that I should know his grace. O, might we choose to camp in thankfulness-not just for this one day, but daily.
Because God is good ... all the time ... let's be intentional about giving thanks.
Looking for a scripture passage for Thanksgiving? Check out Psalm 100:
~Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! ~Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. ~Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. ~Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.
~Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!
with love and gratitude~