Thanksgiving is upon us, and most of the day has passed for me as I write this post. As we sit with our bodies overloaded with tryptophan and prepare to ease into a restful evening, I think about tomorrow. On a day that we set aside for thanksgiving, it is easy to do things for each other. It’s easy to get up early and prepare a meal for our loved ones. It’s a bit more difficult for us to clean the kitchen, but hey it’s not as bad as usual right? Why are these unusually larger, but usual tasks, easier on holidays with family and loved ones? The answer is clear for me: It’s not about me, but about the ones that I love. This is where I begin to think about tomorrow, the day after Thanksgiving.
In the hustle of modern life, we miss it. We miss it daily, weekly, and monthly even. We miss the point of it all. We miss the gratitude that we should possess and exemplify daily, because of our blessings. We miss the fact that we have so much to be thankful for every single day. I know this happens in my life at least. I don’t think this is intentional for any of us, but life is busy and there is only so much of us to go around in a twenty-four hour day.
So what exactly is thankfulness? Where exactly does it come from within us? I think the Apostle Paul hit the nail on the head in his Epistle to the Philippians. One could say that thankfulness comes from the core of our being when the core of our being understands what has been done for us. Paul, when he was writing this letter, was imprisoned and awaiting a trial where he could be executed. He speaks about the results of his upcoming trial and says a verse that many of us are familiar with. Philippians 1:21 reads: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Paul goes on with a stunning explanation for us today. If he lives he will be happy to keep working for Christ. He will keep preaching and writing of the grace of our God; however, he admits in verse 23 that if he dies he will “be with Christ, for that is far better.” This man writes as a man who is coming face to face with what could be his mortal demise, but says he could go either way. I could almost see him shrug his shoulders in jest as he writes these words down in the damp jail cell. It is not a fear that possesses him, but something else. I believe it is a solid knowledge of what he has been given as a child of God. I see no vacillation of fear and gratefulness. I believe it is a humble and grateful heart centered squarely in the core of who He is. Paul is well aware that he is a child of the Most High God.
I encourage you to keep this in mind tomorrow, the day after Thanksgiving. I encourage you to keep this in mind next week and even next year. Put it on your calendar reminder that pops up on your phone. Remind yourself that, if you have dedicated your life to Jesus Christ and He is Lord of your life, you are a child of the Most High God.
When you read your calendar reminder sit and think about how you should think. Think about how you should act and allow your gratefulness to overflow into good deeds for your fellow man.
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Philippians 1:21 – “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain .”