A Thankful Heart

Turkey, family, and football. Thanksgiving, an American tradition.

A day set aside to appreciate all of the things that we have. We all have different traditions that we carry out with our family or friends. Thanksgiving starts a beautiful time of the year, a time of community and love, a time of joy and excitement. As we carry out this thanksgiving tradition, I want to remind us of the most precious gift we have ever received.

For some of us there are several things we can be thankful for. As we gather with loved ones and enjoy good company and food, life can seem almost perfect.

For others the holiday season can be a dreary one. Filled with feelings of loss and loneliness. Time can be spent pondering better days that have long since passed.

There is one thing that we can all be thankful for today, and everyday. Regardless of what your emotional state is this season, I want to remind you of the greatest gift.

A friendship with Jesus.

You may be filled with joy this Thanksgiving, or you may be filled with disappointment. However, Jesus is a gift we can all be thankful for.

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Ephesians 5:20

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Often times we find ourselves battling with many types of struggles, all types of hardships, various types of wars are waged against our souls. When we find these things trying to steal our joy and peace we try to battle them with theology or with our commitment level to Jesus, but it doesn’t have to be that complex. Our thankful spirit shouldn’t be built on an exegetical thesis of the gospel message.

Build your thankful spirit on the blood of Jesus.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 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. 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

As we gather together and speak about our thankfulness for all the many different blessings we have in our lives, I encourage you to build all of your thankfulness on Jesus. As christians we should consider nothing to be ours, we are merely stewards of all that has been given to us. So as we reflect on all we have to be thankful for, thank the one who has let you care for pieces of his creation.

This thanksgiving can be a time when you transition from a life that is built on a thankfulness for “stuff” to a thankfulness for Jesus.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:7

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Psalm 105:1

This transition of a thankful spirit, from “stuff” to Jesus will build for you a foundation of joy that is immensely more reliable.

As I mentioned earlier there are different types of emotional responses to the holiday season. Typically, when someone is downtrodden in the holiday season it is due to loss. Loss of what?  “Stuff.”

Let me pause and make a disclaimer. As a person with chronic depression I am in no way suggesting that your sadness is due to a lack of spiritual maturity. I am definitely not saying that an increase in biblical understanding will make you a happier person.

I am saying this.

Building a thankful spirit on the foundation of Jesus, is a substantially healthier option that building a thankful spirit on “stuff.”

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21

Our jobs, relationships, finances, marriages, and homes may change. Jesus will not.

Building your thankfulness on things that may change is leaving yourself vulnerable to the pain the world will cause.

By choosing to build your thankfulness on Jesus, you are assuring that the foundation of your thankfulness will not be destroyed by change.

“I am the Lord, and I do not change. And so you, the descendants of Jacob, are not yet completely lost.” Malachi 3:6

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Be thankful for who God is, and what He has done for you. Be thankful that you have been brought into the family of God.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.’” Hebrews 13:5

“The Lord himself will lead you and be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid.” Deuteronomy 13:8

Don’t count on changeable “stuff” for Thanksgiving.

Count on Jesus for a thankful heart.

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