It’s here again! Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away, so now I need to get busy preparing for it. We have almost 50 people at our house each year for Thanksgiving (actually the day after). I kept telling myself that it was November, and reminding myself that Thanksgiving was coming, but I guess it never really sunk in. Fortunately, I began receiving phone calls and texts from my (grown) daughters about preparations for the meal; otherwise, I would have procrastinated to the last minute (which is a bit redundant).
When I sat down to prepare my to-do list, I began thinking of Thanksgiving—it’s meaning, family time, past memories, and of course, a post for my blog. And instead of finishing my grocery list, I began writing (I would rather write than shop).
Since the beginning of November, I have seen people all across social media making lists of what they are thankful for. Most are doing one a day, so in 30 days they will have listed 30 blessings they personally recognize. This is a great idea, and we should all be numbering our blessings continually. However, yesterday at church, the preacher (who happens to be my nephew) [wow! That makes me sound too old or him sound too young…] Anyway…back to the point… he brought up the idea that Thanksgiving wasn’t about the things that we should be thankful for, but Who we should be thankful for. He brought up the idea that Thanksgiving should be less about the things we have and more about the Provider of these things.
The Bible tells us that all things were made by God, and that every perfect gift comes from the Father of lights. If you have health, wealth, and affluence, you should be thankful for God. If you’re sick, poor, or friendless, you should be thankful for God. No matter what state our finances, our family, or our influence is, we should be thankful for God.
It’s easy to be satisfied and happy when all is going well, rather than when we are facing trials and tribulations. However, there are many examples of people throughout history who have had the integrity to stand when all is lost, and probably the most familiar example in the Bible is Job.
Job lived the life of health, wealth, and prosperity. He had it all according to everyone’s standard. He was a successful farmer, a great father, a loving husband, and a faithful friend. He also had a testimony of one that worshiped God and avoided evil. But one tragic day he lost everything. His animals were all stolen, his children were all killed, and he even lost his health to the point that his wife begged him to “curse God and die”. Even his friends were condescending and critical, falsely judging Job because they perceived his devastation was due to some deep, dark sin.
But Job did not waver in his faithfulness to God. He didn’t base his thankfulness upon his possessions, his family’s health, nor his well-being. In the first chapter of the book of Job, he clearly shows what he’s made of: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’”
He had gut-wrenching sorrow from his losses, but through it all he never blamed God nor accused God of being unfair. He continued to praise God for Who He is. No matter what we as Christians go through, our first reaction to all situations should be “blessed be the name of the Lord”.
Give thanks for His Power— God has the power to give eternal life. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him”. (John 17:2)
Give thanks for His Person— The Father creates (Isaiah 44:24), the Son redeems (Gal. 3:13), and the Holy Spirit sanctifies (Rom. 15:16). “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord”.
Give thanks for His Provision— “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matt. 6:25-26)
So this Thanksgiving, amid the turkey and the pumpkin pie, I encourage you to count your blessings, but more importantly, meditate on the greatness and holiness of God.