Giving thanks during the holidays might seem easy, but thanking God in every circumstance challenges the best of us. Some claim it’s impossible.
I’m a nostalgic kind of guy. In my mind’s eye, I can imagine myself sitting at a table with the early Pilgrims and their Indian neighbors—who had shown them where to hunt and fish and how to plant. They made it through a long winter, planted their crops the following spring, and reaped a bountiful harvest. They thanked God, but also their Native American neighbors.
Fast forward four hundred years, and I wish I could thank God in a similar fashion with my parents, children, and grandchildren all gathered around a holiday table. But our family has been torn by deaths, divorces, and remarriages—which has increased and decreased the number of parents and grandparents, along with the houses they all need to get to during the holiday season. Add health complications and distance to the above, and the challenges multiply. Although my wife and Mom try their best to get them all in one place on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, they rarely succeed.
Even though the holiday celebrations don’t look as I want, I can still be thankful—in all circumstances. And for quite an impressive list of things.
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
I’m thankful for my family. Although they don’t always act as I wish, I’m proud of my family and grateful God has blessed me with children, grandchildren, and Christian parents.
I’m thankful for my friends. The person who has several people in a lifetime who will stick with them through thick and thin is fortunate. Moving around so much has made this challenging for me, but I can still find several people whom I could call on if I needed them.
Worshipping a forgiving God makes me thankful. Through Christ, all my sins are forgiven—past, present, and future. He has removed my condemnation and given me Christ’s righteousness.
Believing God has a purpose for my life makes me thankful. He says He has plans for me, that they are good, and that He wants me to prosper. I don’t have to drudge through life; I can enjoy every moment.
Knowing God has the power to redeem any and every situation also makes me thankful. God redeems the frustrating situations I encounter and the suffering I endure through His sovereign power. He brings good from bad and orchestrates events in amazing ways.
This holiday season, find reasons to give thanks to God.