Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, every day is Thanksliving Day


We are in the “Thanksgiving season,” with an almost automatic association with turkey and dressing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie (or sweet potato pie, depending upon your ethnic tastes). For Christians, however, thanksgiving is more than a holiday observed the fourth Thursday in November. Actually, “Thanksgiving” is always appropriate. “Thanksgiving” is the reason, not only for this season, but “thanksgiving” should be the reason for every season, even in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, especially during these unprecedented times of uncertainty.

When I use the term “thanksgiving,” I look at the word in its most literal sense, meaning “to give thanks” or “to show one’s self grateful.” It is an expression of gratitude, a form of prayer specified in I Timothy which speaks of “requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving. . . .

As a Christian believer, expressing thanks to God for His grace and goodness should never be confined to a single period of time. God desires that we show ourselves grateful at all times. Scriptures remind us of this truth in a number of places:

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

A similar reminder is found in Ephesians 5:20:

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Word of God reveals that the giving of thanks is to be more than an occasional act of gratitude; it is to be an ongoing part of our lives.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Perhaps the most dramatic reminder to live in continuous thanksgiving is found in I Thessalonians 5:18:

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ.

Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. We can always find something to be thankful for something, if for nothing more than that we are alive or that our situation could be worse. We can begin by thanking God that we are alive and then adding to the long list of blessings we are enjoying at that moment. Each time we set our minds to be thankful, we are doing the will of God, the innermost desire of every believer.

We desire to do more than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, but we desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” which some have called “thanksliving.” The essence of our attitude of endless gratitude is expressed in this poem:

Thanksliving

What shall we render to the Lord for all
His grace? What can we say to offer praise
Worthy of His glory? How can we call
With all our being upon His name and raise
A new song from the depths of our heart?
We must do more than mouth a platitude–
To express our soul in words is an art;
Yet words cannot express our gratitude.
Our words are empty and without merit.
“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.
So, we must worship God with our spirit
And must give thanks well for all of our days.
To live is to give thanks with tongue and limb.
With each breath, each move, let us live thanks to Him.

Beyond merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is more than the arrival of Friday (TGIF), for which the workaday world thanks God. We must show how grateful we are with all of our being, “Thank God, it’s Sunday through Saturday.” As we do so, we counteract the negative effects of “stinkin’ thinkin’”: thoughts of disappointment, discouragement, despair, and any other toxic emotions that seek to keep us from being all that God designed us to be.

We close with a music video described as the best Thanksgiving song ever, expressing the power of gratitude, praise, worship, and adoration:

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