November 22 I Thursday
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” —Psalm 100:4
On Thanksgiving Day, many families will gather around the dinner table and each share something they are thankful for. This is a wonderful tradition, a chance to thank God for the things we so often take for granted, but there is good reason to live with an attitude of gratitude all year round.
Psychologically, thankfulness is one of the healthiest human emotions. Professor of Psychology Robert Emmons argues, “Very little of a person’s sense of well-being seems to have very much to do with their circumstances. Rather, it depends on an inner attitude of life and a spirit of gratitude.” Key to our well-being is not what happens to us on the outside but the inner attitude with which we approach those circumstances. When we face difficult situations in life, it helps if we keep things in perspective, count our blessings and remain grateful for the good amidst the bad.
Thankfulness is simply an acknowledgement of dependence. If someone opens a door for us and we say, “Thank you,” we are acknowledging that they have done something for us. We are not alone in this world; we are interdependent on one another and it is good to recognize that.
Scripture also emphasizes thanksgiving as an attitude of gratitude. Many Psalms are songs of thanksgiving, and Paul often adopts a thankful tone in his letters. To the Ephesian believers, he writes, “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20). To the Colossians, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17) And perhaps most remarkably, to the Thessalonians, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We cannot read through Scripture and not realize that a vital ingredient in a wholesome, healthy Christian life is a spirit of gratitude that gives thanks in all circumstances.
It is psychologically, emotionally and spiritually liberating when, in everything we do, we give thanks to God. Being thankful to Him is acknowledging both our dependence on Him and His provision in both good times and bad. Having an attitude of gratitude will not necessarily make our circumstances easier, but it will reflect our solid hope that God is trustworthy and knows what He is doing, even in our difficulties. Being thankful is not only God’s will for us, but it makes us emotionally richer people, better neighbours and more aware of our need to depend on Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, on this Thanksgiving Day, I pray from the deepest recesses of my heart, “Thank You.” Help me live with the same attitude of gratitude each day.