In all the busyness, Thanksgiving totally hit me by surprise this week.
It seems like all of the sudden it’s cold outside, the leaves are changing, miraculously the Cowboys are somehow relevant again, and Rachel is asking me what we want to cook for our family’s Thanksgiving celebration. And as I pause for a moment today to reflect on what Thanksgiving is all about, the rushed nature of the holiday feels all too accurate. Here’s what I mean…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Regardless of our circumstances, God has given you and me so much to be thankful for. And in fact, he’s given us so much to be thankful for that Paul tells us to “give thanks always and for everything”(Ephesians 5:20).
But in the midst of Scripture’s exhortations to be thankful, I find it hard to even give real credence to the one holiday a year dedicated to giving thanks. As I look at my life, I’m finding it hard enough to slow down for one day to be thankful, let alone to reorient all that I do around continually giving thanks to God.
And as I see how far away my life is from living out Scripture’s commands, rather than allowing the weight of conviction to keep me down, I actually feel this gap stirring up a powerful desire to approach God. This day of giving thanks is a powerful opportunity to stop, and remember what life is truly about. Days like today, if we’ll let them, can illuminate a pathway to life in God – a pathway marked by stations to leave our burdens behind.
John Milton wrote:
“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
Milton’s words describe what I hope my life becomes. I want to have my eyes so set on this moment, my heart so present to what God is doing in and around me, that I encounter everyday epiphanies. I want my days to be filled with transcendent moments of awe, strung together into a lifelong journey of experiencing all of God’s goodness I can find.
Today is a real opportunity for you and me. It’s a chance for us lay down our busyness and our burdens at the feet of Jesus, and exchange them for the ability to so see God’s goodness already all around us that we can’t help but “give thanks always and for everything” (Ephesians 5:20).
If you can, take just a few moments today to simply pause and be fully present with God. Allow him to breathe his life into your lungs. And let everything go but the goodness of simply being with him.
And may today’s reminder to be thankful become an altar of sorts, a source of remembrance that life is too good to let it pass us by.
Happy Thanksgiving. And know that I am beyond grateful for you, and for this space we’re creating for God to fill.