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Being Christian On Thanksgiving

Psalm 100:4 Give thanks to…[God].

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” –G.K. Chesterton

            I read where someone said, “Something to be thankful for:  a kinder IRS.  A woman in Columbus, Ohio, received bills from IRS saying she owed $270 billion in back taxes.  However, she was informed she could pay in 3 easy installments of $90 billion each.”
            I once looked at issues closest to Thanksgiving of three Christian magazines which I read regularly.  In none of them could I find Thanksgiving even mentioned.  Now I’m sure that there are good reasons for that.  But it is my belief that in general, there is a rather strange ambivalence in the church about Thanksgiving.
            Of course there are our “Thanksgiving” events–dinners, ecumenical services and our prayers.  But, I get the feeling many times these are more perfunctory than vital.  Thanksgiving is a holiday and certainly we have a lot to be thankful for but it is more a side issue than a fundamental Christian one.  I suspect that for many, what Thanksgiving really means is the “kick off” to the Christmas season.
            What does thanksgiving mean for the Christian?
            In the book of Romans God’s charge against the wicked was: “although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.” (Romans 1:21).  Failure to give thanks is the basic sin of the “ungodly” and “wicked.”
            Conversely, the most basic Christian act is thanksgiving.
            Thanksgiving is not complete just because we feel grateful.  Nor is thanksgiving just a day.  We need to verbalize it, say it.  Not to do that is a sure way to abort the joy.  It is like the manna which God provided in the Old Testament.  It will go sour if you try to hold on to it (Ben Patterson).
            It is a self perpetuating cycle.  Expressing thanks increases our gratitude.  Zig Ziglar writes, “The more you express gratitude for what you have the more things you have to express gratitude for.  Grateful people are happy people.  They’re achievers.  They have friends.”  He tells the story of a woman for Birmingham who hated her job.  She was told to list things she liked about it.  Then she was to repeat list with “I love my job because…” for thirty days.
            After six weeks, he asked, “How are you doing?”
            “She grinned so wide she could have eaten a banana sideways.  She said, ‘Mr. Ziglar, I’m doing wonderfully well.  You can’t believe how much those people down there have changed.’”
              How much more true is it as we express our gratitude, give thanks to God that we are grateful people.

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