“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
and His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:4–5 NKJV).
Thanksgiving is often thought of as a warm, happy, joyful, wonderful season and time of the year to be enjoyed by all. Thanksgiving is frequently filled with preoccupations with travel, turkey dinners with all the fixings, football, shopping and so forth. Some might look forward to the big turkey meal or the big games. Most people look forward to getting together with friends and visiting or catching up with family. If an individual has a Martha personality, he or she could be preoccupied with all the hustle and bustle of the preparations and such. The true meaning and purpose of Thanksgiving is to ponder one’s blessings and all that one has to be thankful for.
Thanksgiving is the time of year when it’s simple and easy to ponder things we are thankful for. We find ourselves surrounded by our family, friends and loved ones sharing in and celebrating the bountiful season of Thanksgiving, remembering and counting our blessings. Often we are celebrating this spirit of thanksgiving with a bountiful feast shared with friends and family. It is quite common for people and families to have a tradition of each person going around saying what they are thankful for. People could be thankful for their friends, family, life, health, homes, food, clothing, jobs, freedom and faith. As believers, we often are thankful for God’s truth, Word, power, grace, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, love, mercy, redemption, forgiveness, protection, provision and salvation.
As I ponder the true purpose of Thanksgiving, I can’t help but wonder, as believers even more so, should the spirit of thanksgiving go beyond just the yearly November holiday? We as children and creations of our Father God were created for the purpose of offering praise and worship to a most worthy Father and Creator. The very idea and act of praise and worship are the offering or giving of grateful homage, gratitude or thanksgiving in words or song as an act of worship. We as believers are called to worship and offer praise. We are to bow in giving worship, we are to honor our God with our lips filled with praise and lift our voices with song, and we are to have hearts filled with worship and thanksgiving. The act of thanksgiving as a fundamental part of our praise and worship of our Father God is required. As His children and followers, we should choose, desire and yearn to freely and willingly offer our praise, worship and thanksgiving.
We are to be thankful in all things and all season. We can give thanks for the simplest and the greatest of things as big and small blessings. Be thankful for the beauty of His creation such as a beautiful day of blue skies and sunshine as a reminder of His goodness. When we see a rainbow following a rain and thunderstorm, this is a reminder of the promise of God’s love, provision and protection. A walk through the grassy meadows and by a brook of serene water reminds us of His calming voice. We are reminded of the immeasurable and endless depth of His love for us while on the beach hearing the sound of the ocean and feeling the sand in our toes, with the wind at our back and through our hair with the smell of the sea. A majestic mountain view reminds us of His power, majesty and strength.
“She thanks her Jesus for the daisies and the roses in no simple language” as Jars of Clay sang in the 1995 song “Love Song for the Savior.” The praising of God for the small things is no simple language. Even though we are called to and desire to give our thanks, our praise could never quite give justice to our God who is beyond all description. All the words in the world written in ink and on a scroll of paper would not be enough because even expressing our thanks till the end of time for eternity, we would still run out of ink, paper and words of thanksgiving, praise and worship. Moreover, the no simple language of praising and worshipping our Father Lord God becomes deeper, truer and earnest in those difficult times of struggle, trials and tribulations and in the depths of the valleys of much sorrow, in the season of grief, loss, pain, betrayal, heartache and heartbreak. The deserts of life are the hardest times to keep a heart of praise and worship and a spirit of thanksgiving. In the depths of the shadow and valleys, we are to hold steadfast in our praise and worship for, in these times, some of God’s greatest blessings —although maybe unseen — come to us and teach us lessons, draw us near to Him and show us that He will sustain us and gives the greatest of these things.
Even so we praise our Lord God by offering our thanksgiving for His truth, light, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, love, hope, mercy, grace, redemption, healing touch such as for the blind, and of broken hearts and lives, help to the lonely and hopeless, for His protection, provision, forgiveness, unconditional, everlasting and eternal love.
May we always remember the spirit of Thanksgiving. May we always maintain a constant spirit of praise and worship. May we always have overflowing cups of thanksgiving. May we always have hearts that are happy, thankful and filled with endless gratitude and praise for our Lord God — for we enter into His courts with gladness and thanksgiving.
Michaela S. Cox is a New Hampshire-based writer and the author of “Heartfelt Meditations: A Collection of Poetry Inspired by Cherished Scriptures.”
- For what blessings are you thanking God this Thanksgiving?
- How can we live with a spirit of thanksgiving throughout the year and not just on Thanksgiving Day?