Thursday, November 23rd, 2023
With today being Thanksgiving, I want to take some time to briefly look at the history of this day and a scripture about being thankful. While my family enjoys Thanksgiving and understands the significance of the day, we truly are of the mindset that every day and many moments throughout are day are worthy of a thankful heart. We acknowledge that everything we have from the breath in our lungs to the roof over our head to our children are all blessings from God. We know firsthand that a grateful heart opens up the door to the presence of God and can ensure we have the right perspective in every situation.
Let’s go back a little over 400 years to when the Pilgrims landed the Mayflower in what would become America. The year was 1620 and the Mayflower had spent 66 days traversing the Atlantic Ocean. This in itself was a miracle. I cannot imagine preparing for and surviving that trip without all of our modern conveniences. The Pilgrims surely prayed to God and had thankful hearts towards Him. This would not be a journey for the faithless. After they landed, it was just coming into wintertime in New England. Only about half of the original Pilgrims survived that winter due to disease, lack of food and weather conditions. Thankfully, as spring came around, the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to hunt and grow foods like corn and squash. Realizing the blessing that this provision was, the Pilgrims wanted to give thanks to God with a three-day celebration. Not only had they survived an incredible transatlantic trip, but they had been taught how to survive on what was, to them, a barren land. It’s hard to understand the emotional ups and downs of losing half of your “family” and then growing your first bountiful harvest of food in a foreign country. They were never more grateful for life and for God’s provision. A 30-minute trip to our local grocery store to gather food for our Thanksgiving meal doesn’t really stir up the same level of gratitude that the Pilgrims experienced. When we sit down with our family today let’s thank God for the gifts of life and food. Too often we take these things for granted.
I want to look at one passage of scripture. It’s 2 Corinthians 4:15-17 (AMPC):
15 For all [these] things are [taking place] for your sake, so that the more grace (divine favor and spiritual blessing) extends to more and more people and multiplies through the many, the more thanksgiving may increase [and redound] to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.
17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],
Our mission in this life is to share our testimonies and gratitude with others so that they too can someday share even more testimonies and gratitude towards God. Thankfulness is something that easily spreads. It’s the good kind of infectious. It’s even more powerful from those who are in a situation that appears from the outside to be anything but praiseworthy. But that’s who God is. He makes a way for us to see the good and the blessings in any and all situations. And when others can see us praising God in the good, the bad and the ugly they can’t help but catch the fanning of Holy Spirit flames coming their way. I love in this passage how Paul talks about our physical self and our spiritual self. Though our outer being is perishing, our spirit being is being renewed every day. No matter what our physical body tries to tell us we have the opportunity each day to grow closer and closer to our Heavenly Father. Many have tried for centuries to find the fountain of youth. This is that. We have a chance to live for eternity and Jesus has paved the way for us. If we can find nothing else to be thankful for, a day-by-day renewal of our spirit until we spend forever in eternity is a good reason to start praising God.
If everything else around us feels like it’s falling apart, we can praise God that He is love, He is our Father, He is good, He is patient, He is gentle, He is forgiving, and on and on. Even just typing those few attributes of God stirs up my faith. What we see may not look loving or good, but we are the children of a Heavenly Father who gives us all of those things and more. If we can slow down long enough to settle into those truths, the faucet of thankfulness will go from drips to a stream to a gushing downpour.