A Thanksgiving Meditation

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians5:18 NIV)

“Thank You” are two power packed words that have life changing potential.  They fall into the category with several other wonder working words like “I forgive you” that when uttered with sincerity of heart affect change in both the speaker and the listener.  They communicate critical information upon which the significant relationships in our lives depend.

The words thank you because of their frequent use in our everyday culture can lose the full import of their meaning.  When we see the phrase “Thank You” in writing we often associate it with a note sent by a high school graduate or newly married couple.  Typically we hear the phrase as an acknowledgement for the receipt of an act of courtesy.  We hear it at the counter when the clerk hands us our receipt of payment for a purchase.  We hear it from a stranger as they pass through a doorway as we are holding the door.  Sometimes it is spoken without words through the nod of a head, the tip of a hat or a thumbs up sign.

Words of thank you take on more significant meaning when they are expressed as heartfelt appreciation for a selfless gift.  Thoughtful gifts given on special occasions or just because warrant a deeper expression of gratitude because of the love and care that have gone into them.  Thanking someone for extra time and attention or for extraordinary service rendered is a reciprocal act of love and care in the relationship.

There are dimensions of thanksgiving however, that transcend the plain of human reciprocity and move into the realm of the divine.  How do we thank someone for something for which it would be impossible to repay?  Perhaps it is a parent or other significant person who have invested their lives in benefiting ours.  How do we thank someone for the provision of a critically dependent need which we ourselves could never meet?  Maybe it is an opportunity, finances, wise advice or simply the emotional support that lifts you from defeat to victory.

Thanksgiving in such circumstances expresses itself best through a humble and grateful acceptance.  In many cases it is appropriate to declare our heartfelt thanksgiving through a public affirmation of honor or esteem for our benefactor.

This realm of thanksgiving is of course most fitting in giving praise to God for all He has provided for us.  We can never repay Him for the extravagant grace showered upon us as His undeserving and dependent children.  But yet He delights to hear the expressions of our thanksgiving and praise for every thing He has done for us.  And so with the psalmist it is worth making a commitment to constantly “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4  NIV)

But there is yet one other dimension of thanksgiving that transcends them all.  It might be called the highest form of praise.  And that is thanking someone, especially God, for something you trust them yet to do.  Saying “thank you” in advance is an expression of faith.  That “thank you,” no matter what the circumstances, releases faith.  “Thank you” becomes “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)  It communicates appreciation more for the person and their trustworthiness, than for the thing given.  The Giver becomes the treasure more than the gift.  That is the ultimate “thank you” any of us can give.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you my faithful readers and to thank God from whom all blessings flow.  “It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord!” (Psalm 92:1)

Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

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