A season of thankfulness
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Many families gather together on Thanksgiving day and recite reasons that they are thankful before they begin the meal. For some, this act is merely part of the process. It is a way to appease our parents so that we can enjoy all of the food that we have been smelling for some time. It is a necessary tax in order to get to the turkey and dressing. For others, it is a sweet moment to contemplate all that the Lord has done. Wherever you find yourself on this spectrum, I bet we can all agree that this year things will be different. For many people, 2020 has been an incredibly difficult season. People have lost jobs, loved ones, a sense of security, or traditions that have been in your family for decades. And I’m certain that for some of you, this has led you to dread this very question as you sit around the table waiting on the meal to begin.
God’s word encourages us to be a people who give thanks in all seasons. I have found in my own life, I become more thankful in light of difficult moments. We see this biblically as well. Israel needed frequent reminders to celebrate the God who had delivered them again and again. This deliverance took place due to them turning their back on God and facing judgment of some kind or another, usually in the form of captivity or oppression.
There are many passages of scripture that speak to God’s people being thankful or calling us to thankfulness in our lives. When rebuilding the temple in the book of Ezra, the people offer thanksgiving with these words “they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” -Ezra 3:11
Psalm 9 reminds us of God’s faithfulness in destroying the enemies of His people and in restoring our souls. Other Psalms, most famously Psalm 100 call us to worship God simply because He is good and worthy to be praised.
In Philippians 4, we are reminded to “4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
With these and other passages, we are called to give thanks to the Lord for He is good. And that goodness is guaranteed. So, if you find yourselves this Thanksgiving without much to be thankful for, simply lift up your hands and declare the Lord is good. And that is enough.
Pastor Aaron Suber