During this season it is traditional to give thanks. A popular activity on Facebook this month is to post “what I am thankful for” each day. The holiday serves as a wonderful reminder to us that we need to live with an outward focus rather than an inward focus.
In order to give thanks, we must first recognize that there is someone apart from us that has given us something. This recognition is actually bigger than it may sound at first because far too often we live our lives as if we are the only one in the universe. I suppose in a sick, twisted kind of way, just the reverse is also true for some people — they see themselves at the center of the universe and so they are unsurprised (and not particularly grateful) when things come their way.
Perhaps more importantly, in order to be truly thankful we must recognize that we have a need — that we are missing something. It is not that you can’t be grateful for something you don’t need (like that special Christmas sweater from grandma), but there is a whole other level of thankfulness when we receive a gift that truly meets a need (like the gift of help when we just won’t be able to finish that project all on our own).
Scripture says that every good gift comes down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). In other words, God is the origin and cause of every good thing in the universe. Without him, we could not have good things to begin with. He was the One who gave the first gift and made it possible to give every other gift. So when we give thanks this season, we should remember who is the true source of every good gift.
When we give thanks to our Father in heaven, our thanksgiving is deeper and more meaningful. Psalms 136 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.” As we move away from Thanksgiving and into the Christmas season, let’s decide not to leave the spirit of thanks behind. Instead, live with a spirit of thanksgiving each and every day, recognizing the One and true source of all good things in our life.