Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving ... thoughts to ponder

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. - 2 Corinthians 4:15

Thanksgiving prayers were first uttered by God's people in the Old Testament and God ordained a specific sacrificial offering for thanksgiving. David, the psalmist, wrote many Thanksgiving devotions and Paul the apostle taught that we are to always pray and give thanks to God in all circumstances. When we use the Bible for devotions and for prayers, we are following after the hearts of men and women who led exemplary ideals for worshiping God. This Thanksgiving, if you are looking for good lessons to share with family or for prayers to pray during the day, turn to the Bible and find inspiration that turns a heart towards gratitude and finds the peace that much of the holiday season is promoting.

It's interesting that during the very seasons that Christians celebrate gratitude and the birth of Christ, our lives get the busiest and we are often so overloaded with schedules and shopping lists (turkeys to cook and potatoes to smash) we experience extreme stress and time seems to slip out of our grasps. This is actually the perfect time to stop all activities and reflect upon worshipful Thanksgiving devotions.

God ordained many traditions and specific rituals to teach His people proper responses to His love and mercy. "And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the Lord. If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil...." Jesus fulfilled the law of the Old Testament, and because of His ultimate sacrifice, we no longer must practice the laws that were in place to teach us of our shortcomings. But, Christ clearly promoted special times of giving thanks, and the teachings of Paul include turning our attitudes constantly towards gratitude.

Gratitude is a choice. When Nicholas died in January of this year, Karen and I made a choice to praise God even in the hardest time of our life. This Thanksgiving is a blessing because of the two new ones in our family, but it still just as hard because one is missing. Nicholas' absence is the new reality and the normal we will live on this side of heaven. The choice to praise and give thanks is the strength granted by God to live the journey. So, we give thanks and we turn to God's word for sustaining grace in everyday life.

Giving thanks for a great family and for a very special little boy that made last year's Thanksgiving one that I will never forget. You know I love ya and have a great Thanksgiving! Don

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