Being Grateful at Thanksgiving

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.

~ Cicero, Pro Plancio, 54 B.C.

Last Sabbath we got a good sermonette about thanksgiving.  It certainly gave me something to think about.

I heard on the radio yesterday a program talking about gratitude, and that is always welcome.  It’s ironic that when the host spoke of Thanksgiving, she mentioned it was a “between holiday” as in between Halloween and Christmas.  In the COG, we sometimes call Thanksgiving the “forgotten holiday” for that very reason.  It gets lost in the midst of 2 very pagan holidays.

Then, however, the radio program went on to speak, not so much about Thanksgiving, but about how gratitude is a way of having a “Christ-centered Christmas”.  Ugh.  How little they understand!

You know, of 134 references to “thank” and its derivatives, Paul speaks of it 44 times.  Not only that, but he mentions giving thanks “without ceasing” and “always”.  In fact, he is famous for saying “Pray without ceasing”, but what does he say immediately after that?

 17Pray without ceasing.

 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

 19Quench not the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:17-19, King James Version)

Yeah, you know, I think next time I feel I am running low on the Spirit, I should do a quick examination to see if I am lacking in gratitude!

Notice we are to give thanks in everything not necessarily for everything.  James states one of the 2 most difficult commands in the Bible:

 2My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

 3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

 4But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4, King James Version)

That’s right up there with “love your enemies”!

Again, notice that we are to count it joy when we fall into trials (NIV), but not necessarily for them.

Some who are Calvinist in their approach believe that God manipulates all things down to the very atoms in order to do His work.  I hope we realize better than that, because that would negate free will.  They often point to:

 28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, King James Version)

Notice it doesn’t say God causes all things, but rather He guides and shapes them in order to make them do good to His chosen.  Of course, in the short term they may not seem very good!  However, faith is trusting that He will make the end result good!

So, let’s not let Thanksgiving become the “forgotten holiday” or the “in between holiday” in our lives!  Rather, let it be a reminder to us to be thankful every day!

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