Thanksgiving was always my father’s favorite holiday, and he instilled in us a love for hearing one another’s specific gratitudes. (I know that is not really a word, but it should be.) We all knew to come to the feasting table with something ready to share. I must honor my mother here, as well, since she, the cook, had to be prepared for the lengthy time it would take all of us to go around the table before we could dig in.
My brother-in-law, who has assumed the patriarchal duties since daddy went home to Jesus, carries on this tradition, and it sets the tone for our gathering beautifully. Of special note are the young ones who are delightful in their offerings of thank-fullness. These kinds of personal revelations help us know each other better and give us greater opportunity to see God’s work in our lives. It is a good thing to be mindful of God’s grace and mercy and the benefits of walking with Him and with each other.
As I consider my own heart in preparation for the family gathering this week, I am aware of the deep conviction I have of God’s goodness and faithfulness. This year has been challenging on many levels. My responsibilities at work have been daunting, I have a child who is looking for love in all the wrong places while desperately searching for meaning in his life, and my husband’s physical condition is continuing to have daily implications for us. Faith in God sustains me. I am not only not alone, I also have a companion with whom I can talk, on whom I can depend, and with whom I am more than a conqueror. What a friend we have in Jesus!
I have recently been quoting Psalm 23 to myself when I lay down to sleep (after my husband and I quit talking, of course.) It is a rich prayer and declaration of God’s faithful goodness, and each line has deep and personal meaning to me. He does lead me gently. He does restore my soul. He is with me in the midst of chaos and my own fears. He makes a place of abundance for me, even when the enemy wants to destroy me by attacking my faith. He strengthens me and confirms my place with Him. He works in ways that leave the fragrance of His goodness and mercy. He promises me eternal dwelling with Him. I give thanks for His word, which infuses me with His very life. All His promises are Yes and Amen.
Dear One, what are your gratitudes that need enumerating? Let us be diligent to speak aloud of all His benefits. I pray that you and yours will find deep wells of thank-fullness that bubble up and overflow in your lives this season. After all, we are approaching the time of celebrating His good will toward men.
Until next week, beloved, give thanks for who He is and the things He has done.