"It does not matter what your circumstances are; the instant you begin to thank God, even though your situation has not changed, you begin to change. The key that unlocks the gates of heaven is a thankful heart.” ― Francis Frangipane
The holiday buzz is once again floating in the air and delivering to many a heart, mind, and belly the eager anticipation of this special season. Only a few days away now, and we can really begin to feel its' goodness.
"Thanksgiving Day" - It is a phrase that has been on every calendar I have ever owned. This year it is denoted in bold letters, and stands up tall and proud in November's 25th box like a golden trophy put on display. It strikes me as funny and sort of silly as I glance at the words. We actually need to call out a single day from a year filled with 365 with a specific reminder to give thanks? Really?
Then, right in the midst of my sarcastic critique, I realize I also (and way too often) have needed reminders to practice this simple act that brings life back to my soul's dead patches and assists in the plucking out of my thorny thoughts that scrape and scar, hindering my ability to be grateful. Maybe whoever created calendars understood human nature better than I originally thought.
1 Thess. 5:18: "...in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." (AMP)
God's word reminds like a repeated song looping that we would do well to practice thanks-living - not just a day of thanksgiving - to best exhibit our new life in Christ. As I pause and ponder on Jesus' earth-walk, it doesn't take long for me to realize how scripture shows time and time again what giving thanks "no matter the circumstances" really looks like:
He was bombarded by the needy, accused and mocked by the religious, abandoned by the ones closest to Him in His deepest hour of need, beaten and flogged and spat on by the soldiers, and hung to die on Calvary's cross by us all. If anyone had the right to live ungrateful and bitter at His life-circumstances, it would have been Him. But, what did He do?
He gave thanks. His entire earthly life was soaked in the marinade of gratitude. What an example for us all! Even the very night that began His walk to the torturous hours of the cross was marked in thanksgiving to God His Father:
"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 (NIV)
I will remember Lord. I will make it a priority, like something of utmost importance and not to be missed written in red on each calendar day. I will remember to offer up thanks to You, my good Father who provides life to me. Indeed, each day holds reasons aplenty to build an altar for thanksgiving. God loves us and saved us, calling us His children. Be grateful!
Let's all raise a prayer of thanksgiving on the day literally marked on the calendar, but also practice thanks-living each and every day, praying and praising and pushing "repeat" because this ushers in divine communion with the Giver Himself. And, for this amazing thing, we can live each moment immeasurably thankful.
Question: What are you especially thankful for? How will you live out your days in the practice of thanks-living?