Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father (Colossians 3:16-17).
The full, content life doesn’t have room nor time for bitterness or complaints. Grumbling, the norm and virtue for cultural puritans, cannot comment on gratitude in any meaningful way because they are primarily concerned with fighting and acquiring power for personal and societal reasons. All work and no play . . . and yet, many Christians too have been pulled into the grip of griping. They bemoan in their impoverished spirits, having neglected the riches of Christ, attributing their highest happiness to materialism, statues, money, political parties, popularity, and on and on. There are goods to be had, no doubt, but they are not the fullness of life: only God can be that which our souls yearn for the most. And once satisfied, the soul is replete with thanksgiving that goes beyond the pale of televised accolades.
A thankful heart is also resilient. It is not easily swayed by circumstances or peoples perceptions. It does not readily give in when others disagree or settle on contrary opinions. The thankful heart approaches the day with joy and a song that’s sweet and light, rising from the sidewalks through branches and clouds, beyond the stars to the very heavenly seat of Christ. The seriousness of the day isn’t lost on the buoyant soul. Weighty matters ought to boggle and cause some soul searching. But they need not drag appreciation from our storehouse of goods. We are stronger and freer in thanksgiving, able to fully appreciate God’s goodness and weather the storms of life. We have true shelter amidst complainers, who have abdicated blessings for that which they have not; and ever, do they wonder, why they will eternally be impoverished? If you let go of what God has given you, what makes you sure that God will give again? He is no dusted-off-genie out of a lamp, ready to grant wishes; for you see, you haven’t rescued Him, but He you.
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others (Cicero).
This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks to our Creator and Savior, to our friends and family, to all those who came before us to give us our way of life, and let us do this not as a one time ceremony but as a way of life.
Pastor Aaron Talbot