Give Thanks

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Cold weather has arrived here in the West Coast. The leaves are slowly and marvelously turning in different colors of red, brown, yellow and dark green. The streets are getting filled with holiday festivities and families. The holiday season is near, and in the midst of it, is a reminder to give thanks. While driving in the rain this week, I remembered the lyrics to an old song:  

Give thanks with a grateful heart; give thanks to the Holy One. 
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son. 
And now, let the weak say "I am strong, let the poor say I am rich."
Because of what the Lord has done for us.  Give thanks.

This song is one that I grew up singing and it is a great reminder of the Source of all our hope, especially in this season. I had just moved to the United States three years ago, and this holiday warmed my heart almost immediately because it emphasizes getting together and fellowshipping with family and friends in order to give thanks to God. A holiday that has its ties to a tradition began by the first pilgrims who came to the United States and left behind a legacy that we still practice today, complete with delicious food to enjoy!

The Bible says, “Praise to the Lord, He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1) How great it is to remember especially during this holiday about God’s enduring love for us. It is best seen at the cross, where Christ died for our sins so that we can enjoy a new life as Christians wherein we can worship and praise His holy name. My mother raised me valuing Christ’s work on the cross and now that I’m older, one of my favorite quotes by John Piper says, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” Isn’t it true that God is glorified when our thoughts, actions and heart desires mirror His heart (Psalm 37:4)?

What does it mean to celebrate Thanksgiving? It means to be grateful to Christ for His work at the cross. It means to thank and sing praises to God for the blessings He has given in our lives, family and country. It’s a reminder that people who love God find gratitude in their hearts and their hearts are turned to Him, and they were grateful in all circumstances. It means to be grateful for our families, friends and church families. Our joy and peace as Christians are maximized when we are living a life of gratitude and praise to God. May our hearts be ever soft to His Word and will, and may we always remember that our hope is in Him.

As for me, I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner and I am in charge of the kitchen. It is one annual celebration where I get to take charge of the menu and serve my family. It is also a time to enjoy relatives that I don’t get to see very often. While it is a time to enjoy great food and good company, it is also an opportunity to reflect Christ and reach out to others. May our attitude of thankfulness include an urgency to share the Gospel with others as well.

What are some things you are looking forward to this Thanksgiving? What family traditions do you enjoy the most?

Dear God, as we gather with our families, friends and love ones, may You instill in us a heart of gratitude, one that is fixed solely on You. May we enjoy the good food, good company and the blessings that You have given us. May we reflect You and reach out to others at this time as well. In Your name, Amen.

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