…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)
On my morning walk, a man and his grandson who were doing yard work in the heavy mist spoke blessings to me and wished me a happy Thanksgiving. At the store, the lady behind the register smiled and did the same. And another stranger leaned out her car window to call out happy Thanksgiving. For the next few days we will all be thankful. Or not…
Earlier this week I wrote about being thankful for the people in our lives. And most of us are thankful for the things we enjoy. I wonder how thankful we would be if all that—the people, the things, the numberless blessings—were stripped from us just as has happened to so many in various places around our world today. Think about it.
Some will experience these holidays missing a loved one—I attended a memorial service for a 90-year-old friend yesterday and for a 6-month-old baby boy a few weeks ago. Some have lost jobs or experienced disappointments or severe changes in circumstances. It’s called life in an unredeemed world. Can we still be thankful in somber situations?
When everything is stripped away, there is still God. I heard an indigenous pastor who works with his people in a Syrian refugee camp saying that the enemy thought they had taken everything from them, but they were wrong. With a radiant face, he said, “We still have our joy.”
And we have our peace and assurance, and confidence, and hope, and security, love, and the faithfulness of one gave himself for us. Strip everything away, and we will always have HIM. And we can be thankful.
Father, thank you for teaching us that our hope and our thanksgiving is in you, unchangeable, eternal, omnipotent, and always loving. Cause us to look beyond our circumstances, which are sometimes bleak, and to allow ourselves to bask in your love and your presence forever. In Jesus our Lord. AMEN.