We have a tradition each Thanksgiving with my extended family. We each write something down we’re thankful for on a small square of paper and put it in a bowl. Then we pass the bowl around, pick out a paper to read, and try to guess who wrote it. Some are silly, some are quite profound. Every year one person writes “mashed potatoes.” That person really likes her grandmother’s mashed potatoes! Sometimes I write as small as possible to fill up the entire piece of paper with as many things as I can: water, socks, my wife, almonds, safety, forgiveness, caramel, my house, life in Christ, chocolate, fire, computers, my kids, the Bible, laughter, church, sunshine…you get the idea!
For generations, Americans have been getting together with family to eat turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes (and for some, cranberry sauce, but no thank you). This year things will look different, but we can still take time to give thanks, enjoy good food, and connect with family and friends however we’re able.
Regardless of how we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christians should be the most thankful people on earth. Gratitude should be oozing out of us like gravy! We are loved, forgiven, empowered, and destined for an eternity with our great God and Savior! No doubt there are hard things in your life right now. You might be struggling with marriage, kids, finances, health. You might be distraught about the state of the world. Those things are important, and they matter. But complaining about or ignoring them won’t help. Instead, we cast all our anxieties on the Lord because he cares for us (1 Pet 5:7). And then let your gratitude drown out your heart’s grumbling.
Let’s live a life like the one leper in Luke 17. Ten lepers came to Jesus for mercy. All ten of them cried out, and Jesus healed each and every one of them. But only one returned, fell on his face, and gave Jesus thanks. Christian, no matter what is going on, fall on your face and give thanks to your Savior. Live a life of gratitude, overflowing with thanksgiving for the small pleasures of this life, and the eternal glory of the next. Let’s be children of God who shine as lights in the world (Phil. 2:15).
So be thankful this week. Tell God what you’re thankful for. Ask your family what they’re thankful for. Write them down and put them in a bowl if you want. Yes, life is hard. This world is broken. But we have so much to be grateful for.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever.” | Psalm 136:1-3