“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Thanksgiving Day is a beautiful pit stop on the road of remembrance. Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit says that giving thanks is vital for the believer. When is it appropriate and when is it time to give thanks? All the time! There are times when things are not going well that we may be led to believe that we have little for which to give thanks. Paul makes an exact point: “give thanks in all circumstances.” He did not say give thanks for all circumstances, but rather in all circumstances. Not everything that happens to us is right. For some today the conditions are challenging. Health issues, financial, personal and relational situations, as well as a host of other things, may dampen our thanksgiving enthusiasm. For some today is an exciting holiday filled with family, friends, and food. Some today are experiencing their first holiday without a loved one. Today some people are feeling the erosion and dissipation of strength as their bodies are being ravaged by disease. A table today has an empty seat belonging to someone who is serving their country, and the pain of their absence will be felt by the guests at the bountiful table. Because of conflict and hurt feelings some will today decide not to come home and join in the celebrating and their absence will be a silent witness to a wounded heart and spirit. Whatever may be going on for some today the circumstances are different than past holidays. Most will carry on, put on a smile and try to muddle through the day. The verse from 1 Thessalonians does not say rejoice because of your pain and loss. It means instead, whatever the circumstances and pain that you are experiencing there is a God who loves you, and brings you grace and mercy, therefore offer Him Thanks on this day!

Thanksgiving is a time to focus on the ultimate. Because there is a God, He will have the last word! He will not be stopped or silenced regardless of the circumstances. All of us have felt the blow of troubles and trials. They are a part of the human experience. Do not let them obscure your perspective today! Wherever we find ourselves this Thanksgiving! Take a praise break, better yet, take multiple praise breaks.

Thanksgiving is God’s will according to 1 Thess. 5:18. It is “God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.” Jesus was tempted and faced trials while here on earth. He understands what we are going through. Before too long today get alone with Him and pour out your heart. Go ahead, as the hymn writer said: “no one understands like Jesus.” For you may feel alone today, but Jesus cares and understands.

For the Christian not only are we thankful for the blessings we have received throughout the year, but we are also grateful for the presence of the One who is our Redeemer, brother, and friend.

On this day of thanksgiving, pause and count your blessings. Be aware of those around you for whom this day carries its share of pain. Remind yourself that we are not only thankful for things, but we are grateful for relationships and our families. We are thankful for the grace of God that reached us when we were unaware and lifted us out of the pit of sin and set us on the solid rock, Christ Jesus.
In no particular order
I am thankful today:
for God’s grace
for the Word of God
for health
for my wife
for my son
for my family
for my church family
for my freedom
for my heritage
for my opportunities
for joy
for a place to serve
for a roof over my heard
for food on the table
for the Word of God
for God’s love
for the comfort of the Holy Spirit
for freedom
for music
for books
for mentors
for community
for those who serve those in need
for the promise of tomorrow
for the reality of heaven
for the Resurrection
for the Hope of eternal life.

For these and so many more, I say “Thank you.” Thank you, Lord, and today regardless of my place or circumstance I offer my thanks to you. You have helped me and led me all the way. Sometimes the path has led beside still waters, and sometimes it has been through the rough rock filled passages, but all the way you have blessed me and I just want to pause and say thank you!

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