The holiday season is here. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and before you know it Christmas will be upon us. I grew up in a loving home, surrounded by people who were loved and loved generously. I look back at my life and I am truly thankful for the family that God has given me. Those who were near and those who were far off, I thank God for them. It is in these holiday seasons I look back and see what God has done and is still doing in my life—and above all he has taught me to give thanks.
If we were to open the Bible, we would find the command and the example to give thanks.
We see David commanding the reader to give thanks in light of what we know about God.
8 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! —1 Chronicles 16:8 (ESV)
We see Daniel thanking God for personal blessings in his own life.
23 To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” — Daniel 2:23 (ESV)
In the New Testament we see Jesus giving thanks in the upper room, and then commanding his disciples to do the same. This would have greater meaning post the resurrection.
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”— Luke 22:19 (ESV)
We see Paul calling on believers to simply be thankful in all that we have been richly blessed.
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. —Colossians 3:15–17 (ESV)
And again we see Paul calling on us to give thanks not only for the good, but during the bad times as well.
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (ESV) 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
We are called to be a people who are thankful in everything. The older I get, the more I can look back on in my life and give thanks. It is a beautiful thing really. The older we get, the farther we can see. We can see the great valleys we have passed through. The mountains we have climbed. The classes we have endured, and the tests we have overcome. We can see children born. We can see the loved ones that have passed, and every step of the way, the Lord was with us. I am reminded of the words of the Lord in these seasons of thankfulness;
20 …And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”— Matthew 28:20 (ESV)
I am thankful this season for all that God has given. He has given me a life to live and a purpose. He has given me family and loved ones. Some have passed and are waiting for me on the other side. I am thankful for them and I am thankful for a God that saves—so that I might see them again, not only as they were but as they should have always been—sinless and with their God.
This season, give thanks to the God who saves. Give thanks to the one who saves those who call on his name. Give thanks for the things that he has done and will do. Give thanks for the valleys and mountains—if only they be opportunities to walk through them with God. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for this steadfast love endures forever.