Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart
What being thankful is all about
“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song” (Ps. 95:2).
Being grateful should constantly be a part of how we celebrate life. Gratitude enables us to acknowledge everything that God has given us. With the intake of every breath weought to exhale a prayer of praise, love, and thankfulness for His grace and mercy.
Because I had come from a country where there was no designated “Thanksgiving Day,” my initiation into this celebration made an indelible impression on my mind and instilled in me a true sense of belonging and the meaning of family. I drank in all that the celebration of that day entailed: the food in particular,which in my view served as the obvious conduit to meeting, greeting, and fellowshipping with family, some of whom I was meeting for the very first time. I decided then to treat that day with the importance it deserved without overshadowing my Christmas joy.
Thanksgiving Day is now that special day set aside to celebrate on a grand scale all that we are thankful for in our lives. It’s a day to count our blessings and reconnect with family and friends around a dinner table weighed down with copious amounts of delectable dishes. It is a gathering of the very young, the old, and all others in between, the rousing babble of voices vying to outdo each other in greeting as young ones gleefully dart in and out among the adults while the host silently prays that no one bump against the table already groaning under the weight of its delicious fare. For some that picture may appear to be utterly chaotic. For me it is the very embodiment of thanksgiving!
If we are confident of God’s daily blessings we should be giving thanks on a daily basis.
Then, with the meal safely tucked away, we sit, stand, or recline—whatever position appears most comfortable—and remember, reminisce, and reflect together on God’s rich blessings and our ability to share these blessings with others. W. Clement Stone has said: “If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” A selfless sharing honors God. So we remind the younger ones that our doors should always be open, ever ready to welcome those who are less fortunate, to offer a meal or a place to rest awhile, because, according to W. T. Purkiser, it is “not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, [that] is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”
We remember the loved ones we have lost, and rejoice in the wonderful additions made to the family during the year. We are happy to have made it through another year; we are thankful for health, and shelter, and the joy of just being with each other. In fact, it is as Paul says: Our hearts “overflow with thankfulness” (Col. 2:7, NLT).*
I contend that if we are confident of God’s daily blessings we should be giving thanks on a daily basis. And I echo the statement of an unknown author: “While it’s true that Thanksgiving only comes but once a year, we should actually celebrate each and every day. It’s just a matter of learning to live with a spirit of gratitude.”
* Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.