Don’t go into Thanksgiving without expressing any!
Praise is the recognition of who God is; thanksgiving is the recognition of the blessings, relationships and gifts He adds to our lives.
We know where the good things in our lives come from. In 1674 Thomas Ken penned the words to a song sung in many churches today and known by just about all of us: Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” This mirrors the words of James when he said, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father …” James 1:17 New Living Translation
There is no such thing as a ‘generic’ Thanksgiving. It’s not a holiday … it’s the attitude of a heart so filled with gratitude that it needs more than one day a year to express itself. And express itself it must.
When we are thankful for something, we must be thankful to someone. Ultimately, as James reminds us, it all starts with God’s love. But his gifts often come through the lives and kindnesses of others.
- Good parents are a gift from God, but they labored for many years in that endeavor … thank them.
- Freedom is a marvelous gift from God, but acquiring it and keeping it requires the dedication of those in the armed forces … thank them.
- Faithful friends are some of God’s best gifts, but being a friend to you requires faithfulness and giving on their part … thank them.
- Your church is one of God’s priceless gifts in your life, but many work hard to make it a reality … thank them.
You can trace all the good things in your life back to God, but don’t forget his many delivery systems that brought them to you.
As you move through this week, keep an eye out for blessings in your life. Go ahead and start with the obvious, but then start to notice the little things that make your life better. Include them in your ‘thanksgiving list.’ And if you’re truly thankful, look for ways to respond.
Use words to say thank you. Use deeds of service to express what’s in your heart. Use random acts of kindness to show the extent of your gratitude.
But beware! Unexpressed thanks can turn into apathy, then a sense of entitlement. The truth is, we are owed nothing. The gifts flowing into our lives are expressions of God’s love given to us through the love of people around us. Let them know they are making a difference!
Christmas is coming. Why not give the gift that will be opened 365 times next year … a copy of Fresh Heart For a New Day. It’s available at amazon.com or through Barnes and Noble. You can also ask your local Christian bookstore to order it for you.