This time of year is often characterized by a full social calendar of holiday concerts, plays, and parties, busy schedules of planning, shopping, preparing for guests, and traveling. For most of us, it is a time to enjoy family members both near and far, and I must admit that for me the entire season from Thanksgiving to New Years Day is one long feast of delicious food and delightful gatherings of the people I love and cherish.
I appreciate the rhythm of the calendar year more and more as I age, and I am heartily aware of the Christian calendar of remembrance which is the heartbeat of that rhythm. I am glad to focus on gratitude in these days before we begin the season of Advent. Gratitude is foundational to godly remembering, because it keeps our eyes on who He is and what He has done. Yes, there are natural and temporary blessings that should be celebrated: family traditions, warm homes, enough extra to include a stranger at the dinner table. But, deeper than these and overarching these are the eternal promises we partake of by faith. His heart toward us is always good, no matter where we find ourselves circumstantially or relationally. These are the context of His self disclosure to us, not the definition of who He is.
So, what does it mean to “give thanks”? It is taking the next step after you feel thankful to give a response, make an expression. Looking for opportunities to express gratitude is no easy discipline of intentionality. It’s much easier to rest in a “feeling” of gratitude, in a sense of being blessed, which does not require much of an act of will and is actually only a doorway to the foyer of thanks giving. We enter His gates with thanks giving, and this allows us entry to the banquet hall of His table of fellowship, His courts of love. Gratitude opens our heart to hear His voice, and gratitude is the oil that removes any friction from obedience. He really does love a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Lord God, how good and kind You are! How rich is your stored up treasure for me, your chosen and forgiven child. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for calling me and giving me purpose. Thank you for making my heart your home and my home your heart. Thank you for never giving up on me, for never leaving me and for always running after me. Give me a heart that loves you more and more until I am transformed into your image and become what you intended. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.
Come Thou Fount (I Will Sing) by Chris Tomlin is a beautiful rendition of an old classic. I encourage you to listen carefully to the words and to willingly offer Him praise and thanksgiving. Let your life of gratitude, a life filled with moments of grateful expression, be a shining light in a dark and broken world.
Until next week, take every opportunity to express your gratitude to Him and to those He brings along your path. And let me offer my sincere gratitude to all of you who are on this journey with me. Your presence and participation matter. I pray for you, even though I don’t know all of you, and I believe God has joined us together for His own good pleasure and purpose. Thank you for cultivating His faithfulness and for being a faithful witness.