Over the past few weeks, I’ve really been thinking about gratitude and thanksgiving. In all honesty, as an almost 30 year old, I think I’m just now grasping a greater understanding of it’s true meaning. My concept of thanksgiving in a grander sense has always involved setting aside time out of the busy year, creating a feast, sitting around with our families and thanking God for the blessings He’s given us. I know this is good and right, and it’s honestly my favorite holiday of the year, but lately I’ve really been realizing that there’s so much more to it.
I thought I’d let you in on just a few things I’ve learned/ am learning when it comes to gratitude and giving thanks…
#1. True Thanksgiving occurs regardless of visible or physical abundance.
It has nothing to do with our circumstances. I’ve come to think giving thanks is even more BEAUTIFUL & POWERFUL when done in spite of whatever it is we’re facing. Many of you don’t know this, but I work part-time providing medical care to inmates in correctional facilities. I know what you’re thinking? Very glamorous, right? BUT my goodness, I just love it. There’s something about serving someone who can’t give you anything in return. No compensation, no good review, no “like” or “follow” on Instagram, nothing more than a smile and a very sincere “thank you”.
In all honesty, it’s where I’ve received the most sincere expressions of gratitude I’ve ever gotten. Even more so, it’s taught me that gratitude is the antidote to grumbling. It changes your perspective, and quite often your perspective changes your actions, which in turn may actually change your present and your future circumstances. At least that’s what a sweet lady who was wearing no makeup, had wavy disheveled hair, and a past that she isn’t super proud of told me in a windowless clinic room a few weeks ago. That precious lady, in the midst of her brokenness and desolation, found the power of Jesus, and in turn, the joy that comes from a holy gratitude …despite her circumstances. Even still, her cup was overflowing.
#2. Giving thanks really isn’t about us or our gifts at all.
It’s not about our blessings or our gifts or our capabilities. It’s all about God, the Gift Giver. It’s all about who He is, what He’s done, how He loves us. I recently had someone who is going through a really tough time with cancer tell me, “even if I am not healed from this, I am so grateful to God for what He’s done in my life and the gift He is to me.” You know where that beautiful sense of gratitude even in the midst of “hell on earth” is coming from? A true, authentic, deep and rich relationship with Jesus. I think we find the more we draw near to Jesus, the more we realize that He is the source of every good and perfect gift, but even more than that…HE IS THE GIFT. When we understand that, we can’t help but “enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” – Psalm 100:4
#3. Thanksgiving is a way of living. It’s an act of worship.
It’s not something that we do once a year or on occasion. It is an everyday way of living. It should be as natural to us as eating and breathing. Think about just how different our lives would look if rather than having an attitude of cynicism, grumbling, or discontentment, we always, always gave thanks. I recently read an article by Ann Voskamp where she said “Being joyful isn’t what makes you grateful. Being grateful is what makes you joyful.” …and I believe joy, unlike happiness, is not fleeting. I want that, and I think it starts by giving thanks in every little thing. I believe there is nothing that brings our Father greater joy than when his children, humbled and joyful, come before him with open hands praising Him for who He is and what He’s done in their lives. Thanksgiving is worship, and worship is Thanksgiving.
“In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Have a Happy Thanksgiving dear friend. May you know that no matter who you are, what you’re going through, where you’ve been or what you’ve done, there is ABSOLUTELY nothing in this world that can separate you from the love of your Savior, Jesus Christ. You are so dearly loved, and your soul was bought at a great price. May you live your life knowing and believing that truth to the fullest. May you give thanks for THAT in every season.