By Leonard Lauriault
This Thursday, Nov. 25, is Thanksgiving Day. I’ve always looked forward to this day as it’s the beginning of the winter holiday season, which runs through Easter, as far as I’m concerned. I think it’s significant that the season begins with Thanksgiving and ends with the main reason we should give thanks.
There are many reasons we should be thankful, not all of which I’ll be able to mention in this article. But, I want to get a trivial one out of the way first. I’m thankful for all the food and different flavors that come out during the holidays (although, I like food year round). Regarding those who’d tell us otherwise, the Apostle Paul wrote that food is among the things that God created for our good and it’s OK to eat all different kinds of it with thanksgiving when it’s been consecrated with prayer (1 Timothy 4:1-5; 1 Corinthians 10:30; Romans 14:5-6).
We should be thankful that God meets all our physical and spiritual needs and, actually, approaching him through prayer in thanksgiving as one of his children is worship, in that, it’s an acknowledgement of his greatness (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:25-34; Hebrews 4:16; 12:28-29).
We should be thankful that God hears and answers the prayers of his people (2 Chronicles 7:14-15; John 9:31; Galatians 3:26-4:7; Romans 8:15-17). In fact, we’re told to present our prayers and requests to God with thanksgiving, I think, because we know he’ll hear and answer when we ask for the right things with the right motive (Philippians 4:4-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Matthew 7:7-11; 1 John 5:14-15; James 4:1-3).
The guarantee that God hears our prayers doesn’t mean that, even if the request seems right and we have the right motives, he’ll grant the request in the way we want, if at all. Paul was told, “No,” when he asked God for relief because God was using Paul’s problem to strengthen him through his grace (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Paul rejoiced in that and so can we because we can know that God may have a better answer than we could imagine and he always works toward our best interests when we’re trying to live according to his will (Isaiah 55:8-9; Romans 8:28; 1 John 3:21-24; Acts 2:38-39).
Thankfulness is a Christian attribute as we recognize our triumph over sin and its consequences through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Colossians 2:6-7; 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 6:23; 3:23; 1 Corinthians 15:57). Good things happen when we partake of the cup of thanksgiving remembering Jesus’ sacrifice and the fact that he’s coming again for us; but, problems happen when we decide to not give thanks where it’s due [1 Corinthians 10:15-17 (NIV); 11:23-26; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Romans 1:18-25; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12].
There’s nothing trivial about God’s expectation that we recognize who he is through obedient love, which includes giving thanks. So, as you enjoy the food and family this winter holiday season, start off by remembering where everything good comes from and offer a prayer of thanks (James 1:16-18).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org