Thanks for God’s Love and Wonders
Let them praise the LORD for his great love
and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
This coming Thursday, residents of the United States will stop as a nation for Thanksgiving Day. It is a day for us to express our gratitude to God for his many blessings. At least that’s the idea. But, for many of us, Thanksgiving Day is filled with activities besides pausing to give thanks to God. Some of us spend the better part of the day cooking. Others spend the better part of the day eating what has been cooked. Millions of Americans fill Thanksgiving Day with television watching, beginning with the Macy’s Parade in New York City before a segue into football. When you add travel and gathering with relatives, Thanksgiving Day can become crowded with everything but actual thanksgiving. Sometimes all God gets from us is a short prayer before we dig into the turkey.
I’m not really complaining about our Thanksgiving Day traditions. I love a turkey dinner with pumpkin pie more than just about anyone I know. But I also think it’s good for us to take time for intentional, extended thanksgiving to God. God deserves it. And our souls need it. When I was pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, I encouraged folks to recognize a season of thanksgiving, rather than just a day. I’d encourage you to do the same. My guess is that you might have more time to pause for genuine thanksgiving today or tomorrow, rather than on Thursday.
Psalm 107 encourages us to be grateful right from verse 1: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” The rest of the psalm elaborates on God’s goodness with specific examples. For example, verses 4-7 depict the Lord as rescuing those who were lost, bringing them to a place of safety. Verse 8 sums up: “Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.” This verse serves as a refrain throughout Psalm 107, as it is repeated three more times (107:15, 21, 31).
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions that help you offer thanks to God? When, in the next couple of days, could you set aside an hour for intentional thanksgiving? How have you experienced God’s love recently?
PRAYER: Gracious God, I am thankful that my country sets aside a whole day for thanksgiving. But I am aware of how easy it is to fill this day with so many other things besides giving thanks to you. Forgive me, Lord, when my Thanksgiving has very little thanks in it. Amen.
P.S. This reflection is one of my Daily Reflections, which appear on The High Calling website and are emailed each morning to more than 16,000 people. If you would like to receive the Daily Reflections, please visit The High Calling and sign up.