“We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2 (NIV)
I have been pondering lately what it means to be thankful. I mean truly thankful. We say short prayers to God thanking Him for our food and homes and clothes and friends, but what does it mean to give thanksgiving to God? Thanksgiving as a holiday was traditionally a time to give thanks to God for the harvest. Of course, Americans have manages to turn it into a commercial holiday as much as possible through food sales and football. I’m sure we’ll be giving gifts on Thanksgiving in the next 50 years or so…but I digress. I think the key we forget about Thanksgiving is not about eating or watching a parade or football but giving thanks to GOD. We use Thanksgiving as a special time to get together with friends and family that we may not see very often, but let’s not forget to be truly thankful for everything that we have through God, our Father. Revelation chapter 7 says “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen!” (12). All good things come from God, and may we not dismiss or trivialize this fact as we begin to prepare turkey and ham and dressing and cranberry sauce this coming week. Not only should we be thankful for all the things we HAVE but we should be forever thankful to God for the privilege of being His children! Paul writes to the Colossians that we are “being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints of the kingdom of light” (1:11-12). May we remember that this life contains fleeting things that will pass away and that they are simply a small step toward the forever kingdom of God. Let’s be thankful for what we have been given here on earth and also for God’s saving grace, without which all things would be useless. I like the way Paul puts it. “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim 1:17). Now that is Thanksgiving!