“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
It’s that time of year again!
The most wonderful time of the year! Kids “jingle belling” and everyone telling you, “be of good cheer!”. Family gatherings and amazing smelling food, giving and receiving of gifts and love all around, saturating the air. It’s as if heaven itself has come to earth when the turkey is put on the table and you hold the warm hand next to you in a euphoric dream of holiday bliss.
Or…The time where you begin planning now for how empty your wallet will be at the end of December, how many pounds you will have gained and how many family fights will have broken out around the table! The time the skies turn grey…like really grey… and you have to fight back the tears of all the memories that come flooding in. You hold on until the holidays are over.
Most of us can probably relate to somewhere in between one or the other of these scenarios. It’s hard at times in a culture that seems to be engulfed in anything but thanksgiving to remember the real meaning of this time. We all come from so many different contexts and walks of life. Not one is like the other. But I know that even in the midst of those seemingly striking differences, there is one common thread that unites us all; the kingdom of God.
The kingdom has a code. Codes unlock things and give access to other places. I know one of the main codes of the kingdom of God is thankfulness! Thankfulness unlocks so much for us. No matter what stage or state of life we may find ourselves in, there is always something to be thankful for!
The concept of being thankful or giving thanks comes up in the Old Testament 102 separate times and in the New Testament 71 times. Over and again we are instructed to be thankful in our actions, release thanksgiving from our lips and have a thankful heart attitude.
I was sitting at the dinner table with my wife just today and we were sharing some stories of our childhoods. I began to be flooded with so many memories, many of them during hard times. All of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. As the emotions started flooding me, I began to see in a fresh and real way how everything works for our good when we love God. We always have a reason to give thanks no matter what, because all things serve God and those who love him. You can literally turn your most difficult moment into a genuine encounter of thanksgiving with God! He is for you and will never leave you.
As you continue to see family and friends, neighbors and co-workers, bosses and employees and more during this holiday season, remember to give thanks in ALL things. I couldn’t help but think of the analogy Pastor Tonya gave us last week of the video with the wolves. I took perhaps a different take on that than some people. When I saw that video, I thought, “Wow…those things that seek to devour us actually can cause us to flourish”.
If life has introduced a few wolves to your eco-system…give thanks. They are not sent forth from the Lord to destroy you, but rather to make you stronger! Trust the character and nature of God…and be thankful. Go ahead, right now…release a praise from your lips for 5 minutes…or five seconds! It will be the best thing you have tasted all weekend.
God bless you and your home. Much love to you and yours!