Thanksgiving Is Always in Season

I dearly enjoy the Thanksgiving season, even though so much of it in our culture has little to do with giving thanks — and even less with thanking God.

In fact, it’s relatively easy to enjoy the holiday season and put together a great Thanksgiving Day meal — when compared with the challenge of obeying 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Giving thanks for something like a good harvest in an agricultural society is important, but it is easier to do than giving thanks in everything. Yet this is God’s will. Jesus cleansed 10 lepers, but only one came back to say, “Thank you.” If humanity has difficulty giving thanks for good things, how can we possibly give thanks in everything (but not necessarily “for” everything)?

Our lives should consistently reflect a thankful heart regardless of what is happening. Giving thanks in everything does not mean that everything that happens pleases us, but that God is always the same loving, powerful, forgiving, saving, merciful and sovereign Lord. Hebrews 13:5 says, “He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.” The Holy Spirit is with us at all times during our journey through this life. He will walk with us in everything, and we, as His people, should give thanks to Him in everything.

This year the president of the United States will be presented two dressed turkeys and one live turkey. The live turkey will be pardoned and spend its remaining days on a farm somewhere. Everyone who is truly born again is pardoned. Our sin-debt is paid in full. We are forever forgiven. Salvation is secure. The God who gives us this great gift deserves not just a thank-you, but a life of thankfulness.

Impatience or ingratitude are two traits that will prevent us from being thankful people. A Spirit-filled life, on the other hand, emits thankfulness. Paul is not suggesting in this verse that we can avoid trouble or difficulty by being thankful. What he is saying is that, whatever happens to us in life, we are better if we are thankful. Giving thanks in everything is what we do, but “being” thankful is who we are called to be. Thankfulness is an attitude, even a commitment, that pleases God, inspires others and strengthens us.

We may not be able to give thanks for everything, but we can thank God in the midst of anything. Psalm 118:1: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.” Sometimes it can be both courageous and healing to simply thank God for being our God.

Whatever trial, struggle, hurt or disappointment we may be dealing with this Thanksgiving season, let us remember that our Savior is our source (and not simply a resource) for life. Giving thanks in everything is God’s will. If He commanded it, we can be sure it is for our good. Thankfulness is always in season.