Why Give Thanks?
In Hebrew worship services around and before the time of Christ, people sang a common refrain to verses of some hymns: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Who do you think this verse is talking about? And who is it talking to? Generally, supplicants sang it in worship, folks who wanted to feel the love of God. Someone like YOU. It offered contentment, hope and perspective about life, love, and our place in the world: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV)
In the New Testament, Paul extends this thought in his love letter to Philippi. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
A Path To Peace
These verses connect the dots from being loved to thanksgiving to peace, and they inspire some observations. I’m sure you will find your own, but here are three things that jumped out to me:
1) Our love, and our ability to be loving can ebb and flow with the hustle and bustle of holidays and family gatherings, God’s love endures. Forever. That means it’s not just a quantity of time, but it’s a QUALITY of love. It endures NO MATTER WHAT. (And that’s no matter how crazy things get, but also no matter how bad our attitude gets!) So, in a world full of temporary items and elements, it is good to know that some things last forever. God’s love is one of them, and the Bible tells us it is good. When (or if) patience gets thin over the holidays, use His to help you show yours. Because you are loved, remind someone else that they are loved, too. Remember, when the casserole isn’t perfect, or you realize again why you only see those relatives once a year, or patience is thin: YOU ARE LOVED. Bask in that realization, and share that feeling with everyone else!
Second (2), being thankful comes from recognizing who God is and what He’s done. Take a moment to reflect on the blessings in your life, and wrap thanksgiving around yourself like a comforting blanket.
Remember to give thanks, not for material things but for the things that actually matter. Take a moment each day to reflect on how loved you are, and on what that means in your life. Claim peace even if the turkey turns out dry like the Griswold’s, or gets eaten by Bumpus’s dogs. The Bible says peace does not depend on earthly circumstances. And don’t forget that the family Holiday banquets we have here will pale in comparison to the Wedding Feast we will experience there.
Third, I’d never realized that peace not only depended on my prayer and supplication, but my THANKFUL prayer and supplication. If I lack peace, perhaps I forgot to be grateful as I made my supplication. Hmmm… So, it might just be that if I prayed with thanksgiving for EVERY thing first, I’d end up with a different set of requests. And a different level of peace. Happy Peace Giving, everyone! You are loved.
An attitude of gratitude can calibrate your altitude,
and help improve your aptitude when someone else is crude or rude.
People can be selfish, mean or hateful,
But you can rise above it if you’re grateful!
Praising God whenever as we worship Him together
Will remind us of His Goodness; and His love endures forever.
Held in His heart, with love that does not cease,
We offer Him our Thanks. He gives us Peace.
Will the Lord stop loving us? No, never!
His steadfast love for us endures forever.
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