This Thanksgiving Day, I want to remind us of this truth – “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes] (James 1:17, AMP).
Every. Good. Thing. Every. Perfect. Gift. Is. From. God. Not some things given and other things earned. Every. Good. Thing. Every. Perfect. Gift. Is. From. God.
Let us give Him thanks. Wholeheartedly. Intentionally. Constantly. Happy Thanksgiving.
What is thanks giving? It is something we do. It is a process in which we engage. It is a journey we choose.
Thanks giving: The Act
Thanks giving is something we do. As an author, Robert Brault, notes, “There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.” Let us first give wholehearted thanks to the One Who is the Source of all good things. Then, let us also express gratitude to those who are priceless gifts He has given us and through whom He sends other gifts, tangible and intangible.
Thanks giving: The Process
Thanks giving is a process, much like that of using starters to make bread. It is a process that has to be activated. Starters can include the actions of another person, the recognition that nothing is owed us and we are the recipients of so much, and awareness of the goodness of our generous (such an understatement) God Who seems able only to give lavishly.
Thanks giving: The Journey
Thanks giving is a journey … one often initiated externally, for example, through the influence of a parent or caregiver, in childhood, as they taught us manners. Sometimes it was a clear instruction, “Say thank you, honey.” At other times it came in the form of a prompt, “What do you say when someone gives you something or says something nice, sweetheart?” Over time, and with repeated lessons, the expression of thanks becomes ingrained, almost an automatic response. But there can be moments in the journey that we are awakened to the truth that thanksgiving can be intentional, not influenced by anything but our will. We can choose to give thanks. We can choose to be thankful in every circumstance. In every situation. In every season of life. In everything. With His help.
Have a Gratitude Filled Thanksgiving Holiday.
Two years ago, speaking about the Thanksgiving season, a fellow blogger commented, “I’m always amazed this time of year to hear people speak of being grateful, but denying the one to whom we should direct our gratitude.” Her comment invites reflection, does it not?
How is it possible to be grateful but never acknowledge God? Could it be that we fail to see Him as the Source of all good gifts? Could it be that, in the vein of king Nebuchadnezzar, we are taking all or most of the credit for the good in our lives? Could it be that we do not know or live in the light of the truths revealed in Acts 17:24-28 (CEV):
“This God made the world and everything in it. … He gives life, breath, and everything else to all people. From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and He decided when and where every nation would be. God has done all this, so that we will look for Him and reach out and find Him. He isn’t far from any of us, and He gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are…”
Could it be that we do not know or remember that it is
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning…” and great is His faithfulness? (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV)
How well do those of us who call Him Father and claim that He is Lord know these truths? Is our knowledge only head knowledge? Or do these truths so permeate our being that thanksgiving, gratitude has become our lifestyle instead of something we do occasionally and without intentionality?
Someone posed this question, “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” What would the answer be for each of us? Sobering.
I close with an invitation/prayer/plea from Psalm 107:1-2, 8-9, NKJV).
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy… Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.”
26 “Then God said, ‘Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]….’ 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27, AMP)
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Excerpt from The Declaration of Independence, 1776).
How do we live as if each person was created in the image of God? Is it true that the following truths are self-evident: all men are created equal; all men are endowed by their Creator with rights that are impossible to take away or give up? Rights that include “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?” Do we really believe this? I wonder because true belief changes behavior.
There at the Memorial Day ceremony
They accepted the invitation to call the names of the fallen
Known personally to each of them
Some, based on their attire, appeared to be ordinary citizens like me
Others based on their attire, were veterans of the Vietnam War
Some voices were clear and strong
Others choked with emotion
Calling out names, each representing one I will never meet
And I wondered
For how many was it the first time to break the silence
And in speaking a single name
Began to speak the unspoken
Did speaking that name bring pain
But also release?
They stood together
In combinations of red, white, and blue
He stood with shoulders erect
This white haired, broad shouldered man whose face I never saw
Head sometimes bowed
She stood close and, in the face of words such as
“Some placed their lives on hold to answer the call”
Gently rubbed his back
Her profile visible as she turned her head to look at him
Sometimes to smile
At other times to lay her head on his shoulder
Always rubbing his back
Offering comfort and affirmation without words
He greeted me before the ceremony began
Dressed in a black American Legion cap
White shirt and hair
A gentle touch on my shoulder
As he said, “How are you?”
And paused long enough to hear my response
At the end of the ceremony
He turned to me and asked
“Are you a veteran?”
“No,” I replied
“Thank you, for your support,” he said
And it was hard not to cry as I responded,
“Thank you ”
© E. Wright 2015
This blog post was posted originally on my photography blog, fitlyspoken, on May 25, 2015.