The days of the year rush by, the months come and go before I know it, life is always busy. My days are filled with the basics of life, projects, and endless to-do lists. I am sure it is the same for many of you. When do we take the time to stop, reflect and truly be thankful to the Lord for His blessings in our life? Hopefully it is often; but maybe not often enough. To me November becomes a special “season of thankfulness”. It is the time of year to stop, slow down and truly focus on giving God thanks. This year I have started a ‘thankful list’. I am writing down all that I have to be thankful for. I have asked my family to do the same. We are discussing our lists together and reflecting together on the goodness of God. You may discover, as I have, that the more you add to the list the deeper you will search your heart and the more your list will grow.
No matter what the circumstances in our life are, giving thanks to the Lord is not based on our feelings but rather something He has told us to do in His Word. Psalm 50:14 says, “Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.” And, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.". What a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a holiday focused on doing just this. This time of year can give us the opportunity to, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” and to remember Samuels words in 1 Samuel 12:24 "Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
One thing I have learned about giving thanks is that it is easy to do when things are good and life is happy and harder to do when we meet discouragements and difficult times. But I also know that even when life does not go the way we planned or envisioned we need to have a heart of thanksgiving to Him. Remember the first Thanksgiving? The Pilgrims had discouragements, disappointments and sadness, yet at the end of the harvest and their survival of that first year they wanted to make a special time of thanking the Lord. Despite all that had happened, there was much to be thankful for.
As we go through our life there will be bumps along the way in our road. Sometimes they are small and sometimes they are large. The only way that I know to take the focus off of myself during these times is to be thankful. Have the faith that God is working in our lives and He is aware of our problems, our hurts, and our sadness but He wants you and me to look to Him to take care of these things for us. Despite whatever bumps you may be dealing with now or in the future what a comfort we have to know that God is bigger than all of this, He is there and we are asked to thank Him for all He is and does. I read a sermon once and the pastor made this comment, “God invites us to praise Him, to give thanks in all situations because he knows it enriches our experience of Him.”
This Thanksgiving will be all the more special to all of us and our families when we have had time to reflect and thank the Lord for all He is and His abundant blessings. I pray that as we all sit down to our Thanksgiving dinner this year that our hearts will be full of thanks and praise to our Lord and Savior for all His goodness. May you all have a blessed “Season of Thankfulness” in your home.
Here are a few of my favorite Scripture verses on giving thanks:
Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
Psalm 57:9 I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
When my older children were little we started memorizing the many of the Psalms and our very first one we started with was Psalm 100. Today this still remains my favorite Psalm.
MAKE a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.