This week Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. My kids are looking forward to a few days off school. We will get together with family and friends over dinner and probably watch some football. My wife will force us to watch the Peanuts Thanksgiving special again. She calls it 'forced family fun.' (Isn't it amazing how how time in close quarters with family can become an opportunity for conflict.)
By the end of the day, we think we are done. But the biblical perspective is different. The Scriptures tell us thanksgiving should never end. Here is what Paul wrote to the Philippians:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV; emphasis mine)
Most of us think that if we give thanks once (or even just once in a while), we are done. But Paul reminds us that giving thanks should be part of everyday life--more than one day each year. Having said that, I've found that Thanksgiving is a helpful reminder for me to practice giving thanks. It's a time for me to put off my disdain of Peanuts. It's a time for our family to practice saying what we're thankful for before our family dinner. It's a time to re-up my commitment to giving thanks during daily devotions.
You see, gratitude is the part of prayer that protects us against discontent. Whether we are prospering or in the midst of deep affliction, thanksgiving grounds us in the goodness of God. And the fruit of gratitude according to Paul is not conflict but peace.
What are you thankful for? Leave a note below to let us know.