Poor Thanksgiving. It's the forgotten holiday, at least in terms of retail marketing. On Facebook and Twitter, however, there is much giving of thanks in this, the month of November. Some of us are deliberate in our thanksgiving, listing a blessing a day in the days leading up to Thanksgiving itself. Others of us share our thanksgiving more spontaneously, tweeting that for which we are grateful with the hashtag #novemberthanksgiving. Others of us have been more careful with our thanksgiving lists, cataloging thousands of gifts not just in November but throughout the year.
These are good practices. I love reading what you are thankful for and I find that your gratitude is contagious. In fact the discipline of thanksgiving has proved to be personally instructive. Here are some of the lessons I am learning as I give thanks this month...
1. As I thank the Lord for His good gifts to me, I am submitting myself to His sovereignty. He is the Giver of all good things and graciously blesses according to His good pleasure. My thanksgiving is meaningless apart from acknowledging that His provision is first of all from Him and not only good but according to His sovereign plan for me.
2. As I determine to identify the Lord's blessings and thank Him specifically, I see the abundance of His grace and I not only revel in it, I rest in it. He is so, so good and my gratitude prompts humble contentment. I am blessed beyond measure; what more do I need? He is enough and He is everything.
3. And so I find joy in the Lord and not in the stuff He has given. This seems a little counterintuitive at first. I mean, I'm acknowledging the stuff He gave, aren't I then finding joy in that stuff? Perhaps sometimes. But as the first point above reminds me, He gives and He is good. Gratitude for His goodness to me causes me to joy in Him, the Giver, and to see that nothing compares to the indescribable gift of Jesus. He is better! The gifts are mere tools that serve the purpose of pointing me to the true treasure of this life, Jesus Christ my Lord!
Whether you post your thanksgiving or tweet it with an accompanying hashtag, whether your gratitude is marked by a list of a thousand gifts or if you whisper your thanks in private prayer, may this discipline of thanksgiving mark us as God's people and may we be a grateful people whose joy extends far beyond the month of November.