This past week-end, we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada, and did we ever celebrate! It was a terrific weekend, with delicious turkey dinner made by generous friends, a beautiful hike, and good times! We have so much to be thankful for, don’t we!
Our minister asked me to speak for a few minutes at church on “Why I am Thankful”. I was grateful for the opportunity, and glad to do it! I don’t have the exact words, but here is a draft version in case you’re interested.
I’m not a naturally thankful person. When I was a kid, I didn’t argue much with my Mom, but I remember many disagreements about thank you notes. I never wanted to write them. I didn’t see the point. Saying thank you never came naturally to me, and I guess that’s not surprising because by nature I’m a pretty proud and selfish person.
When I was in High School, I met a few people who were different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something about them that set them apart from other classmates. One day, during an assembly, they were up on stage inviting us all to the Christian club. I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about Christianity.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. I tried going to church a bunch of times with friends, but I never really understood what Christianity or church was about.
Those Christians at my High School got me curious. I started reading the Bible. I started in the gospel of John. Jesus amazed me! He was like no one I’d ever imagined, and I wanted to know more.
I learned that God loved me unconditionally. There’s a verse in Hebrews 13 that jumped off the page at me. God promises to never ever leave us, nor never ever forsake us. That’s powerful presence, powerful love.
I knew I could never be good enough to deserve that kind of love, but the amazing thing was that God didn’t want me to fix myself before I became a Christian. Good thing, because all my efforts at that were obviously futile.
God had a much better plan. Jesus died and rose from the dead, inviting us into abundant life in relationship with God.
When I became a follower of Jesus, my heart began to change and some really good things started growing in me. Like thankfulness.
God commands us to give thanks, so it must be good for us, but sometimes that’s a very hard thing to do. Living on this planet can be … challenging. Sad things happen. We encounter horrible things. It can be easy to fall into the downward spiral of looking at the difficult experiences and not the good gifts. But life is a good gift. Each day is a good gift. If we pay attention, there are many good gifts to give thanks for every day, and giving thanks makes my life a whole lot better.
We need to train ourselves to note and appreciate the good gifts, and to close the loop by giving thanks to the Living God who is the Giver of all Good Gifts. Fortunately, we’re not alone: The Holy Spirit is right with us, teaching us, reminding us, helping us, encouraging us, and cheering us on!
In short, I am thankful because the Living God has changed me, and because He regularly draws my attention to good gifts and helps me to thank Him for them.
I am grateful for you, dear readers, and the ways you encourage us, pray for us, and cheer us on. Thank you!