“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith…and overflowing with gratitude” Colossians 2:6-7.
Is it just me, or does it seem like the one holiday we Americans rush past is Thanksgiving? I mean, we see Valentines Day candies by January 1st and Halloween decorations are out by the end of summer. But we seem to skip straight from Halloween to Christmas, almost forgetting that Thanksgiving is sandwiched in between. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE Christmas and can hardly wait to decorate and start playing Christmas music. But I’ve just been pondering why we’re so quick to pass over the day set aside to give thanks.
Maybe the stores jump straight to Christmas because there’s not a lot of money to be made off of Thanksgiving (with the exception of grocery stores). But what about the everyday average American? Our culture is definitely dominated by consumerism, and not gratitude. But without a personal walk with Jesus, or an awareness that God is the Giver of all good things (James 1:17), how could it be otherwise? After all, the foundation of gratefulness is a recognition of how good someone else has been to us, especially when we haven’t earned the goodness. But we Americans pride ourselves on being “self-made.” We’ve worked hard for what we have, so why should we be grateful for what we think we’ve earned? Sure, we all can and should appreciate those who love us and have made sacrifices for us…parents, teachers, etc.
But we Jesus followers have so very much more to be thankful for. We’ve been rescued from the self-destructive disease of sin, granted pardon by the One who sets the rules. This pardon was purchased at the enormous price of His own Son’s blood, shed by choice for those who were once His enemies. He is both the Just Judge and the Justifier. What extravagant love is this! What immense value this bestows upon those whom He would rescue at such a cost. We were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2), but now we’re alive in Christ! We were slaves residing in the domain of darkness, but now we’ve been transferred to the kingdom of Jesus (Colossians 1:13). We are loved (2 Thessalonians 2:16), wanted (John 15:16), treasured (Deuteronomy 26:18). In a word, we’ve received mercy.
But our kindly intentioned God (Ephesians 1:5,9) didn’t stop there. He has lavished good gifts upon His beloved adopted ones. We are co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians :13-14, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We’ve been given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). We are the recipients of lavish grace (Ephesians 1:6-8). We have an open invitation to the throne room of the Most High God (Hebrews 4:16). We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We have Jesus constantly talking to the Father on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25). The God of hope (Romans 15:13), the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3), the God of grace (1 Peter 5:10), the Father of mercies (2 Corinthians 1:3)…This is OUR GOD! Our Daddy (Romans 8:15)! In a word, we’ve received grace.
Mercy and grace in abundance, and all kinds of physical blessings as well. We have so much, so very much, for which to give thanks! Our “cup of blessings” is certainly overflowing. May we overflow with gratitude in return, on Thanksgiving and every other day of the year.