Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Good and perfect gifts:
Cheerios, warm blankets, sunny November mornings, 50 degree days in late Fall, the ability to take a deep breath, just verdicts, brave citizens, majestic autumn colors, friendly conversations, stormy conversations that close with forgiveness, the ability to stand, that necessary process of communicating with your hands - and they respond appropriately. We have thousands of things for which we can give thanks that include and go beyond food, clothing and shelter.
Thanksgiving is one of the most necessary expressions of the Christian life. It is part of being a disciple of Jesus. Why? In thanksgiving we are making note of many of the good and perfect gifts that are daily given to us by our perfect Heavenly Father because of His perfect Son, Jesus Christ.
Some of us will thank God for bringing us through a difficult year and a half of Covid-related trauma. Others will rejoice that they now enjoy natural immunity. Some will offer thanks for a new direction and enduring friendships. There are new jobs or potential job offers to be celebrated. Let’s show gratitude for that cup of hot cocoa on a cool fall day. Let’s acknowledge that God has gifted us several seasonally warm days of late. Let’s trudge past the stress of today and bask in the warmth of those many gifts from our Father.
Such grateful statements provide us a chance to close off the complaint department of our brain and add “likes” to the comment section of God’s constant feed of goodness. We get an opportunity to come back to a faithful, unchanging Father who dotes on His kids - on us. He’s supporting our daily activity by providing energy, relationships, celebrations, opportunities for growth and much more. He also throws in an abundance of unneeded gifts which could easily become expectations if we didn’t pause and recognize that our sinful state does not earn us any of this goodness. This is the Father’s love being poured out from Heaven.
He showers us with goodness; thanksgiving walks us through the warehouse filled with all that He has provided for us from the moment we were that little person conceived in our mother’s womb. In truth, that very moment we began was a moment for which we can give thanks. God ordained that creative act through the amorous affections of our parents. Thank you for life! Thank you for all the accoutrements of life. Thank you for coloring our food and giving us varied textures and tastes. Thank you for Zinc and its ability to help us taste and smell as well as boost immunity. Thank you for beets and kale, chicken and potatoes, cranberry and turkey, pumpkins for pie and apples for strudel.
Thanksgiving and the articulation of gratitude is an antidote to malaise and suppressive thinking; it boosts your mental well-being. Even the Mayo Clinic recognizes the refuge created by gratitude or thankfulness living: it boosts spirit, increases happiness, and improves overall health.
So how do we approach thanksgiving appropriately? What are we to do?
SAY IT - acknowledge it verbally or journal it
Scriptures encourages prayers of thanksgiving; these can be journaled prayers or verbal prayers. I would greatly, strongly suggest that these prayers move beyond the generic references to clothing, food, shelter, family and friends.
Let’s be specific: “Thank you, Father, for sleeping in this morning. Thank you, Father, for blueberries in my pancakes, for whole grain bread, a leaky faucet which reminds me that I have clean running water. Thank you for three indoor toilets, glass windows that let in the light, my chiropractor, my glasses, The Chronicles of Narnia, Alfred Edersheim (he gives good Jewish insights into the Christian faith), a hard-working church council, comfortable seating, and popcorn.
And encourage others to do the same. This is one of those simple yet profound ways to pass on the faith, to be a disciple of Jesus. Teach your children to do this every day. Share gratefulness with a neighbor and let thankful words fill your conversation. Introduce it into your pillow talk at night so that those you love hear it from you and live out your example.
Blessings to all of you as you relive all that your Loving, Perfect, Heavenly Father has passed onto you.