Thanksgiving is like forgiveness to me sometimes. Forgiveness, at its root, is more about being closer to God and a gift for me than it is about the person who wronged me. So being thankful is more about drawing nearer to the heart of God and a tool for the health and energy and joy of my soul than it is a response to good things. Would you agree?
Lately, I find myself most thankful for my being small and finite and Him being great and infinite. Like the mental image in Psalm 91, The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty (v1). I have a newfound gratitude, comfort and delight in Him being so ‘other’ than me, the Most High, and me in His shadow. His almighty nature deserving rightful fear and awe, yet that almighty nature tender and loving and kind to cover me always. He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence (v2).
More words on the life-giving nature of thanksgiving…
“Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.” The Book of Common Prayer
“The fact that he (God) sees all, yet, against all expectation, stands ready to forgive should awaken a gratitude of the deepest kind, a desire to be the same person in public that we are behind closed doors—a person who thinks, acts, and speaks as one who fears the Lord. A person who understands that the limitless presence of God leaves no allowance for a life of practical atheism—professing that an omnipresent God exists and then living as if he does not. God sees. God is present. Nothing is hidden. And this is cause not just for vigilance but for assurance, the most blessed assurance the human heart can know.” Jen Wilkin
“But there is no place of greater, deeper, more lasting healing than to be in Christ with sins forgiven and heaven secured, living moment by moment looking back with thankfulness on all that God has done for us, and looking forward at all God promises to do for us because of Christ. It’s a great place to live. I invite you, I urge you, trust Christ and take your eternal place between bygone grace and future grace where gratitude and faith, thankfulness and confidence fill the soul and make it well.” John Piper, via
“If every moment is sacred and if you are amazed and in awe most of the time when you find yourself breathing and not crazy, then you are in a state of constant thankfulness, worship and humility.” Bernice Johnson Reagon
“Gratitude does not come naturally to us, but it can be cultivated. It helps to switch us from a perspective of need to one of contentment. It acknowledges that no matter my condition, my possessions, my sufferings, or my blessings, we are rich in ways the world can not quantify.” Julie Lowe, via
“Thus, thanksgiving is not usually our natural inclination – sometimes it begins as a sacrifice. Yet, in such a sacrifice is where we find true gratitude. When we shift our mind to remember God & what he has done for us, then what began as sacrifice turns into singing.” My friend Lizzie, via
“For one who has made thanksgiving the habit of his life, the morning prayer will be, ‘Lord, what will you give me today to offer back to you?'” Elisabeth Elliot
“O My God,
You fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
My heart admires, adores, loves You,
For my little vessel is as full as it can be,
And I would pour out all that fullness before You in ceaseless flow.
When I think upon and converse with You
Ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
Ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
Ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
Crowding into every moment of happiness.”
Valley of Vision
“While it’s futile to strain to enjoy God’s presence, we must be intentional about it. As seekers, we become deliberate and aware. We pay attention to God’s unfolding presence in every situation: What is God saying? What is His will here? Then without trying, a thought about how bright the sunlight is today becomes a smile of gratitude to God for creating such light.” Jan Johnson
“When you feel a radical gratitude for what you have, you end up wanting to go to radical lengths to share it.” Ann Voskamp
I’m saying a prayer that even in a chaotic and difficult year, we would be among the most with gratitude and joy brimming over into every conversation, because of Jesus Christ.