Monday, October 12, 2009

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

This is one of my favorite holidays and it's not about the food. Something really special happens whenever we pause and give thanks. It's not because our lives are trouble-free or because we just cheer ourselves with positive thinking.

Psalms 22:3 says, "You are holy, O you who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel." This word enthroned is translated from a Hebrew word that means "dwell, remain, abide, inhabit". God lives in, His presence abides in, our praises to Him!

My parents established a great tradition in our family of inviting anyone who might otherwise be alone to join us at our table. My husband and I have added a tradition of pausing between the main course and dessert to let our food settle and have each person (including the little people) share something about the past year for which they are particularly thankful. These two traditions combine in a way that means we're gathered with people who may be suffering from a particular loss or sadness and yet we are expressing gratitude. It always seems to me that in those moments when we are saying our "thankful things" a holy hush enters the room. God's presence abides in our praises.

This is the glorious message of the hope of the gospel, the Good News, of Jesus Christ. We live in a world at war, an earth in which there is pain, sorrow, tears, and dying. But that's not what defines our story. In the midst of the challenges we have Jesus and He brings us hope in the place of despair, joy in the place of mourning, a "garment of praise" in the place of the "spirit of heaviness"! (Isaiah 61:3)

If you're feeling the weight of disappointment and loss today or simply the blues because the skies have been grey for too many days, I'd like to encourage you to begin to give praise to God. This is far more powerful than positive thinking! The presence of God dwells in praises offered to Him. Declare the truth of who He is, praise Him, exalt Him, worship Him and the joy of His presence will begin to fill you!

May your day of giving thanks be filled with the joy of His presence.

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