The Focus of Our Thanksgiving

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” James 1:17 (CSB)

There is a story of a boy who was in church where they passed an offering plate. He realized he had no money to give. So, when the plate came around, he put the plate on the floor and stood inside of it. The man passing the plate asked the boy what he was doing. He said, “I figured that if I didn’t have any money to give, I would give myself to God.” The boy actually had the right idea. God is the One who gives all good gifts first to us. We are merely giving back to Him. Our thanksgiving goes back to Him since He made the world and everything in it, and He alone is worthy of all of our thanksgiving and praise. This includes ourselves, our every breath, our friends and family, and whatever else we value in life. He is ultimately the One whom we thank.

During our time of Thanksgiving, we often focus on what we are thankful for, and it is an encouraging exercise. We may express our thankfulness for our friends, family, food, a roof over our head, and more. These are great things for which to have gratitude.

Thanksgiving is more than just an attitude of gratitude, however. Thanksgiving has a focus. When someone is given a gift for whatever occasion, we thank the person that gave the gift to us. The “thanksgiving” is tied to the person who thought of you and was gracious enough to give you the gift. Thanksgiving is tied to the person you appreciate and has blessed your life.

The greatest gift that God has ever given is His Son, Jesus. Since Jesus came to this earth, He came to live and walk a perfect life, to take the penalty of our sin by dying on the cross. He then rose from the dead and now rules and reigns in power and authority. By turning away from our sin and believing in Him and what He has done for us, He teaches us what it means to live for God and gives us the power to do it. Our lives become an offering of thanks back to Him.

We can be thankful that God stays faithful and does not change like so much of this world. All of our thanksgiving is focused toward God because everything ultimately comes from Him. As we give thanks both during Thanksgiving and as we go into the Christmas season, let us give thanks to God because He is the creator of everything. Let us give thanks for His grace and mercy that He extends to all who place their trust in Jesus. As Paul, the biblical writer, says about God’s grace through Jesus, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
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Mark Anderson