It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the time when the weather cools and hearts warm, leaves fall, and hymns rise as we gather together with family and friends to share a meal and give thanks for all the goodness the Lord has provided.
Even if you think the Lord skimped on goodness this year, remember that God’s methods of carrying out His will are mysterious to us except in hindsight. But we know He is a Good God, full of love and righteousness, incapable of mistakes, so we trust that everything He gives is good. He is always working all things together for good.
I wanted to give some inspiring words about all that we have to be thankful for, and more than that, ways that we can live our gratitude out every day. Thankful people are the salt and light of the world, making it a better place just by their humility and selflessness.
However, it seems the best words on this topic have already been written, over a thousand years ago. I kept looking for a place to cut it off, but it was all just so good, and so relevant, and so much better than what I was going to write, I think I’ll just let you read it all and savor the wisdom of the admonitions and encouragement. I hope that you are able to put some of this into daily practice during this holiday season. At the very least, I encourage you to start a gratitude journal like our Sunday School class has and list one or two (or five) things a day that you are grateful for (an autumn sunset, green bean casserole, soap bubbles, a child’s laughter, a purring kitty, a spare moment to read, a Raven’s win…whatever!)
Hebrews 13 (Living Bible)
13 Continue to love each other with true brotherly love. 2 Don’t forget to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 3 Don’t forget about those in jail. Suffer with them as though you were there yourself. Share the sorrow of those being mistreated, for you know what they are going through.
4 Honor your marriage and its vows, and be pure; for God will surely punish all those who are immoral or commit adultery.
5 Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.” 6 That is why we can say without any doubt or fear, “The Lord is my Helper, and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me.”
7 Remember your leaders who have taught you the Word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and try to trust the Lord as they do.
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your spiritual strength comes as a gift from God, not from ceremonial rules about eating certain foods—a method which, by the way, hasn’t helped those who have tried it!
10 We have an altar—the cross where Christ was sacrificed—where those who continue to seek salvation by obeying Jewish laws can never be helped. 11 Under the system of Jewish laws, the high priest brought the blood of the slain animals into the sanctuary as a sacrifice for sin, and then the bodies of the animals were burned outside the city. 12 That is why Jesus suffered and died outside the city, where his blood washed our sins away.
13 So let us go out to him beyond the city walls (that is, outside the interests of this world, being willing to be despised) to suffer with him there, bearing his shame. 14 For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven.
15 With Jesus’ help we will continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by telling others of the glory of his name. 16 Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to him.
20-21 And now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he who became the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting agreement between God and you, signed with his blood, produce in you through the power of Christ all that is pleasing to him. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Blessings of deep gratitude,