When we celebrate Thanksgiving 2020 this week, most of us will have weary hearts and fewer people around our table. Maybe you’re grieving. Maybe you’re anxious. Maybe you’re overwhelmed. Maybe you’re disappointed by interruptions to your holiday plans. Maybe you feel like celebrating but also feel burdened by the suffering in the world around you.
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving when you don’t feel like giving thanks?
Despite our feelings, God’s Word remains true. And God’s Word gives us so many reasons to rejoice, pray, and give thanks, just as Paul instructs us in 1 Thessalonians:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).
This scripture doesn’t say, “Give thanks for all circumstances.” God asks us to give thanks in all circumstances. But when our life is a mess, our future is uncertain, or our hearts are broken, how can we give thanks in those circumstances? We can call to mind, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the unchanging reasons for our thankfulness: God’s salvation. God’s presence. God’s promises. God’s character.
In times of exhaustion, we have the Lord’s sustaining strength (Isaiah 40:29-31). When we’re under financial pressure, we can trust the Lord’s faithful provision (Philippians 4:19). When we struggle with loneliness, we can cling to the Lord’s everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). When we’re gripped by anxiety, we can give thanks for God’s sovereign care in every moment (Romans 8:28).
Those who belong to Christ always have a reason to give thanks: the sacrifice of God’s Son for our salvation, the riches of His grace and mercy, and the righteousness of Christ given freely to us. We’ve been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, and nothing in all creation can separate us from His love (Ephesians 1:3, Romans 8:38-39).
Yes, this Thanksgiving will be different, just like this whole year has been. And yet, God has given us an abundance of reasons to give Him thanks and praise. By the power of His Spirit, we can praise Him for who He is and what he has done for us in Christ—even on our most difficult days.
No matter what you face this week, God has given you a reason to give thanks in all circumstances.Share