God, Give Us the Grace to be Grateful.
It’s Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and the purpose of Thanksgiving is to…well…give thanks. In your family or friend group, perhaps you have different ways of doing that: your Methodist preacher granddaddy says the blessing and gets a little weepy-eyed. Everyone goes around the table and names one thing they’re thankful for. I’ve even seen “praise pumpkins” where Sharpies come out and specific bits of gratitude are written to the
But if you’re like me, gratitude doesn’t come naturally. Even in a season of gratitude, there can be grumbling: They didn’t tell me they were bringing two extra people. Uncle Mike butchered the turkey (deep fried? More like deep dried!). Can’t she just lay off of politics for one day?
And so even in a season of gratitude, even on a day that we’ve set aside to be thankful, we will do well to ask God for the grace to be grateful. Before we encounter friends, may we encounter the Holy Spirit, asking for the power to see the blessings all around us. Lest we dread the tensions that family gatherings bring, let us dread a day where we fail to notice and proclaim the mercies of Jesus.
And again, if you’re like me, that’s not natural. I’m prone to wander. Prone to grumble. Prone to point out the negatives in a sea of positives.
So early on this Thanksgiving Day, before the turkey goes in the oven or the place settings get placed on the table or the parade gets displayed on the television, let’s ask God for the grace to see his grace.
Here is what we know about God’s work in us…how he gives us grace so we may be grace-reflectors and grace-givers:
I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises to his people. (Ephesians 1:18 GNT)
“No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.” (John 3:27 NLT)
“I’m going to give you a new heart, and I’m going to give you a new spirit within all of your deepest parts. I’ll remove that rock-hard heart of yours and replace it with one that’s sensitive to me.” (Ezekiel 36:26 ISV)
And once we know how God gives us the grace to be grateful, here is our only natural response:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5 ESV)
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! (1 Chronicles 16:34 ESV)
And on that day you will say, “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted.” Praise the Lord in song, for He has done glorious things; let this be known throughout the earth. (Isaiah 12:4-5 NASB)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. (Philippians 4:4 NASB)
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that openly profess His name. (Hebrews 13:15 NIV)