Expressing thanks but ignoring the Giver?

Expressing thanks.png

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.”

 

Monday Vitamins: Thanks giving and Advent

psalm 69 v30

“Advent is a season of preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ.  Every Christmas reminds us that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to be born as one of us, in order to redeem and renew creation.” – Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

May we walk through this season of Advent magnifying our great God and Father, with constant wholehearted thanksgiving, for His incomprehensible love.

 

Thanks giving: An act. A process. A journey

Thanks giving: The Act

Thanks giving is something we do. As author, Robert Brault notes, “There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.” Let us give thanks with all our hearts and to the One Who is the source of all good things.

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, with the influence of a parent or caregiver as they teach 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.

(Today’s post is a revised version of one shared November 2014).

 

 

 

 

Monday Vitamins: Thanksgiving

We are now 24 days away from Thanksgiving Day, the national day of giving thanks. Can we agree to make thanksgiving a daily practice … a way of life?

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Musings and a hymn

Not surprisingly, right now I am thinking increasingly of the act, process, and journey of thanksgiving. It is an act in that it is something we do; however, it is also a process, much like that of using starters to make bread; a process activated … by the actions of another, by the recognition that nothing is owed us, by the awareness that we are the recipients of so much.

It is also a journey … one often initiated externally, with the influence of a parent or caregiver as they teach 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.

The hymn “Now thank we all our God,” was written by Martin Rinkart, a Lu­ther­an min­is­ter, at the end of the Thirty Years War. The Thirty Years War was characterized by indescribable suffering. The hymn is described as one of abid­ing trust and gra­ti­tude to­ward God, and a testament of Martin Rinkart’s faith. (Click here for a  more thorough history of the man and the hymn).

Here are the lyrics:

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Autumn Scene near Mountains

Photo Credit

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

As we visit with family and friends and partake of the meals, etc. that are traditionally part of Thanksgiving Day, may the act of giving thanks to the Giver be foremost in our minds and in our mouths, and interwoven into the fabric of the day and our lives, and not relegated to a few minutes at the dinner table.