In the month of November we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday other than Easter. The history of Thanksgiving is grounded in the first settlers arriving in America. But there’s a deeply biblical and faith-filled message that surrounds Thanksgiving.
Most Americans enjoy a time of family, fellowship, and food. We sit around the table and in some households every person is asked to give something they are thankful for and the reason. Well it may be offputting to some, especially if they are unprepared, I enjoy this part of the holiday.
Like every other human alive, I have much to be thankful for. As many people know, a little over six years ago I almost died. A rare antibody struck my spinal cord and I have been paralyzed from the neck down ever since.
More than life itself, I am also thankful for my family that has always been behind me no matter what, the nurses take care of me every day, and the host of God’s mercies and blessings I experience every day.
Last week we discussed the idea of gratitude and why it is so important. As we see God’s goodness through his provision, protection, and providence, we can’t help but be grateful. Thanksgiving is gratitude in action.
We know of God’s goodness and we feel it and are grateful hearts. But all of that pent up energy of knowing and feeling God’s goodness must come out. That’s what thanksgiving is all about. It’s the outlet for the knowledge and feeling of God’s goodness can be expressed.
As we show our thankfulness through word and deed people can see in our hearts. Unless a person quizzes you, they can never know what you know. You can know that God is good because of his provision, protection, and providence. But that doesn’t mean others know.
You can feel deep down in your heart that God is good because of your knowledge of his goodness. Unless someone sees you get emotional about how God has done these things for you, they would never know the level of your gratitude.
But when you speak of the goodness of God and testify to the many times he has pulled you through, people know from your outward actions and your thankfulness that you are grateful to God.
Power lies in the declaration of your gratitude. Why are we so afraid to speak goodness and gratitude into other people’s lives? When God uses someone to bless your life and you react with tears, a smile, or return the favor, people can see your gratitude through your thankfulness.
So many people in the world today are not thankful. They don’t express it through words or actions. They forget to be thankful. Some people think they are entitled and shouldn’t have to be thankful. But it’s those people who are not only thankful but express it that are blessed.
When we are keenly aware of God’s goodness and the goodness of others, we are truly grateful for their kindness to us. It’s a cold, dark world that doesn’t have thankful people. As we discussed before, people who aren’t grateful are not generous. We have reaped the generosity of others and it makes us even more grateful.
People don’t have to be that way. People don’t have to be generous. They don’t have to be loving or kind. So when we experience the kindness and generosity and love of others it should move us in a world where it is rare. And we should return the favor by showing our gratitude through thankfulness.
This Thanksgiving season as you gather with family and friends, think of one unique thing you can thank them for. Don’t think of something that anyone could say. Find that one thing unique to them, personal to them, and thank them for it. You’d be surprised how much they would be moved just by you remembering that special thing.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think about our tradition of being thankful around the dinner table. What are you thankful for this year?