Thanks at Thanksgiving

thanksgivingBe thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

Thanking God in every circumstance is challenging—some might say impossible.

I’m a nostalgic kind of guy. In my mind’s eye, I can imagine myself sitting at a table with the early Pilgrims and their Indian neighbors who had shown them where to hunt and fish and how to plant. They made it through a long winter, planted their crops, and reaped a bountiful harvest. They thanked God, but also their Indian neighbors.

Fast forward about 400 hundred years, and here I am wishing I could thank God in a similar fashion with my parents, children, and grandchildren all gathered around a table. But our family has been torn by death, divorces, and remarriages which have increased and decreased the number of parents and grandparents—along with the houses they all need to get to during the holiday season. Add to the above health complications and distance and the challenges are multiplied. Though my wife tries her best to get them all to our house on Thanksgiving Day, she never succeeds.

Even though the Thanksgiving celebration doesn’t look as I want it to, I can still be thankful—in all circumstances. And for quite an impressive list of things.

I’m thankful for family. Although they don’t always act as I wish, I’m proud of my family and thankful God has blessed me with children, grandchildren, and Christian parents.

I’m thankful for friends. The person who has several people in a lifetime who will stick with them through thick and thin is fortunate. Moving around so much has made this challenging for me, but I can still find several people whom I could call on if I needed them.

Worshipping a forgiving God makes me thankful. Through Christ, all my sins are forgiven—past, present, and future. He has removed my condemnation and given me Christ’s righteousness.

Believing God has a purpose for my life makes me thankful. He says He has plans for me, that they are good, and that He wants me to prosper. I don’t have to drudge through life; I can enjoy every moment.

Knowing God has the power to redeem any and every situation also makes me thankful. The frustrating situations I encounter and the suffering I endure are redeemed by God’s sovereign power. He brings good from bad and orchestrates events in amazing ways.

This Thanksgiving season, give thanks to God.

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