Expressing Our Thankfulness

It’s hard to believe that we have reached another November and that the dawn of a new year is only a few short weeks away. This is the season of thankfulness as we celebrate our national observance of Thanksgiving and the birth of our Savior. Psalm 69:30 declares, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” As we enter this holiday season let us boldly magnify the Lord with thanksgiving.

One of the news sites that I visit on a regular basis has at least one poll question practically every day. I always love throwing my vote into the conversation. I don’t necessarily vote because I want to be counted among the voices expressing their opinion, but because I am always curious about the results the question will produce. Sometimes the results are rather predictable, but other times the outcome of the poll is rather surprising.

In a recent poll, a news site asked this question, “What do you like most about November?” As I remember, the choices included “cooler weather” and “black Friday.” I have always been a huge fan of the cooler weather of fall and winter. I like to walk outside and be welcomed by the chilly temperatures that come later in the year. My mouse lingered over that choice for a moment or two, but I had a change of heart just before I clicked the button to cast my “cooler weather” vote.

Ultimately, my weather preference wasn’t the choice I made in the poll. Normally that would have been my answer, but this year I chose “Thanksgiving” as my favorite part of November instead. For those who know me more personally, you know that I am not drawn to big events. I prefer a quiet evening at home over being at an event any day. The older I get the more I have become a creature of routines and schedules. I like every day to look the same. I suppose it’s because I like the predictability in life that comes with my routines and schedules.

As I have gotten older, I have developed into a person who isn’t interested in making a big deal about holidays. I like to remember the birth of Christ at Christmas and the resurrection at Easter, but I am perfectly content to keep our holiday observances very simple. But this year I am very excited about Thanksgiving. I’m excited because of all that I have to be thankful for. My salvation. My wife. My children. The church I have the privilege of pastoring. My health. My financial blessings.  

While these things are great and absolutely worthy of my thankfulness, I am thankful for a different reason this November. I am thankful because the blessings God has given to me is an opportunity for me to give to others. Let’s think of it this way: my salvation affords me the opportunity to give the hope of the gospel to unbelievers; my wife gives me the opportunity to give love and support to the beautiful woman God has provided as my companion; my children give the opportunity to give love, instruction, and wisdom (along with lots of money); the church God has entrusted to my care gives me the opportunity to publicly share God’s Word with more people than I ever could in private settings; my health allows to withstand the physical demands of ministry and the opportunity to provide for the needs of my family; and my financial blessing as allow me the chance to help, even if in a small way, meet the physical and financial needs of others.

The Thanksgiving season is a wonderful opportunity to express our thankfulness to our gracious heavenly Father. But the Thanksgiving season is also a tremendous opportunity to take the blessings that God has given us and turn them into an opportunity to serve others. God dispenses His invisible grace to those in need of grace through the recipients of His grace. If you are a recipient of God’s grace, use this Thanksgiving season as an occasion to serve those in need so they can give thanks to God for your loving sacrifice.

As we serve the Lord this holiday season, let us joyfully “magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

Jay Knolls