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Thanksgiving is perhaps the most classic and well-loved of all American celebrations. It holds the annual reminder that thankfulness is the appropriate and necessary response to all we have been given.
What a rare delight that people across the nation pause for a rare moment to speak forth words of heartfelt gratitude! I don't know what your Thanksgiving table will look like this year, or who will be gathered around it, but would you allow me to barge in uninvited and share with you a few revelations that God has been sharing with me?
Thanksgiving is not a single day on the calendar. It was always meant to be a lifestyle; this amazing lifestyle is the unique and unmatched manner in which we are able to access the presence of the Father.
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise" (Psalm 100:4).
Perhaps you, like me, will savor the paraphrase of Psalm 100 in the Message Bible:
"On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Know this: God is God, and God, God. He made us; we didn't make him. We're his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: 'Thank you!' Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him." (Psalm 100:1-4, MSG).
Thanksgiving was never meant to be an annual celebration identified by pilgrims, pies, football and stuffing, rather it was intended to be the most accurate demonstration of an intimate relationship between humanity and their heavenly, generous Father. The only possible response is, "Thanks, Dad!"
And we must not wait for a month, or a day on a calendar to provoke this heartfelt thanksgiving!
Thanks-speaking is the language of the Father's family. We don't speak with words of complaining, in the tongue of lack or with the accent of griping. We are to be thanks-speakers every day of every year:
- I am thankful for my home, family and job.
- I am grateful for food, heat and a car.
- I am so thankful for friends who make me laugh, who keep me humble and who challenge my thinking processes.
- I am thankful for my Bible, for worship music, for prayers both answered and unanswered and for YOU, my Father!
Thanks-singing is yet another delightful discipline. It has the joyful ability to turn the dry and barren wilderness into a fruitful and lush garden of life. But, if you wait until you "feel" like singing, you will likely never sing again.
Feelings don't determine the frequency of our song, the depth of the harmonies, or the breadth of its audience. The song that fills the days of our lives is birthed in the heart of the Father's love for us. He loves me completely and unconditionally! He loves me extravagantly! That gives me something to sing about every day of every year!
When the arctic winds of January are wailing...God gives a song! When February 14th comes around, and relationships remain difficult and demanding, or your heart shivers from perpetual loneliness, He sings a love song into personal darkness and pain.
When winter stubbornly lingers into March and April, He sings of His vibrant power and we join bravely in the defiant duet with Him. Regardless of the changes that seasons might bring or the circumstances of life that knock on our door, the song remains steady and strong as the children of God sing with the saints of the ages,
"Great is Thy Faithfulness! O God, my Father! There is no shadow of turning with Thee! Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not. Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!"
And finally...Thanks-living is what life is all about! The only reason you and I are still alive this year is to give Him more thanks, higher praise, and louder worship. We do not live for selfish ambition or for personal gain but we live to worship Him. We breathe for the singular reason of singing a love song to Him. We exist to write a new song of wondrous thanksgiving and glorious worship.
When you sit down at the Thanksgiving table this year to indulge in the laughter of family, the bounty of provision and the delight of memories, don't forget why you were created. You must sing the song that the pilgrims of faith first sang with gusto and with wholehearted joy. You are here to join in the symphony of praise of those who have gone before but who served with thanksgiving at their moment on eternity's calendar.
Our lives are the song that our good, good Father has been aching to hear this year.
Carol McLeod is a best-selling author and speaker who encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Her commitment to reach women "by any means available" has made her a multimedia maven, with a thriving social media presence, two top podcasts, a weekly television program and her own Carol McLeod Ministries mobile app. Released in 2022, "Meanwhile: Meeting God in the Wait," Carol's 15th book, examines the life of Joseph and what it means to truly wait well. Her best-selling book, "Rooms of a Mother's Heart," won the 2022 Director's Choice Award at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference. In 2021, Carol was honored to receive Oral Roberts University's prestigious "Alumna of the Year" award for distinguished service to God.
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