Thanksgiving is an important part of our lives as Christians. No matter what we may face, the word of God entreats us to give thanks. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
2020 has been difficult. With the epidemic, we have experienced many losses, globally, and it is understandable to have a bleak outlook on the idea of thanksgiving. However, if you are reading this today, then you have a reason to be thankful because, thankfully, you are alive.
A Reason to be thankful
Despite this traumatic year, I guarantee we can find one reason to be thankful. For one, the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8). We can be thankful for the fellowship we have with the Son and in turn with fellow believers. We are chosen, welcome into a whole new family, adopted by God (Ephesians 1:4-5), a royal carpet is rolled out for us as a royal priesthood in the Kingdom (1 Peter 2:9). And if that was not enough, when all is said and done in this life, we have eternity waiting with the King of Kings, who will come back on a white horse (Revelation 19:11). This may sound like a great story or fairytale, but this is the truest story ever, still being written. It is the story of our salvation.
A loving God, a fallen world and the price of a life on a cross to cover the sins of all mankind (Titus 2:11). A saviour to redeem us from our sinful lives and save us from death (Titus 2:14). The greatest gift we will ever receive that we did not deserve and could not work to gain.
But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for usRomans 5:8
Because of the price paid on the cross by Jesus’ death, we can come into a relationship with God. Our sins are forgiven, and we have eternal life. That is a reason to be thankful. To be thankful for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, thankful that we know of His saving grace, thankful that we are able to know and receive the love God has for us.
There is no isolation, quarantine or lockdown that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). No matter how far we may have felt from Him this year, He is always here. When the Samaritan women felt cast out by all of society, one person accepted her. When she was most isolated, Jesus found her and welcomed her (Luke 4). In the midst of our trials and darkest days, God can always be found, working something for our good (Romans 8:28). For this, we can be thankful.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures foreverPsalm 136:1
Psalm 136 is a beautiful chapter in the bible that reminds us to be thankful to God in all instances for His mercy and loving-kindness. Here are times in life where we can be thankful:
- Thankful for every time we saw a new day in this year
- Thankful for every breath we were able to breathe
- Thankful for every time our heart would beat
- Thankful for every time we were able to see, hear, smell or taste
- Thankful for every meal we ate, every drink we drank
- Thankful for every time we went out and came back safely
These are only a few of the 10,000 reasons we can find to be thankful (Psalm 103). We must always remind ourselves that God is good. His love is unconditional. He is forever faithful, and His mercies still endure forever.
Being thankful through it all
The story is told in Luke 17:11-19 of ten lepers who were cleansed by Jesus. The only issue was that when they were cleansed, only 1 out of the 10 returned to give thanks. Jesus asked, “So where are the other nine? Weren’t there ten who were healed? They all refused to return to give thanks and give glory to God except you, a foreigner from Samaria?”. The outsider was the only one that was thankful.
Let us not be like the rest of the nine lepers. We must remember to give thanks to God this year, not only when we are blessed but in the face of our trials. The rocks cannot cry out on our behalf (Luke 19:40).
Words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth. My friends, this should not happen!James 3:10
Being constantly thankful is not easy. It is a sacrifice. To look not at our situation but at God, to say no to self-pity and yes to hope. As followers of Christ, we are to overflow with thanksgiving. “Therefore, as [we] have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live [our] lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in faith as [we] were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).
We might not have our usual extensive highlight reel to display at the end of the year, but we have a moment now to appreciate and be thankful we are still here. If you count the number of times the word thankful is used in this article, it is 25; as many days that are left in the year (when this is published). The emphasis is to provide an incentive to be thankful every day for the rest of 2020.