“Give thanks in all circumstances” is a common phrase within Christian communities, but what does it really mean? Certainly, in the days when the Bible was written, times would have been much harder than what we endure today (we don’t have to keep a herd of sheep for sacrificial offerings for example) yet almost every book in the Bible has a verse that talks about being thankful, or giving thanks.

This year in particular has been especially hard for many folks, and even harder to try and find a silver lining in all the madness. How Blessed are we then to have a book full of reminders that we can draw upon anytime we need? Let’s take a moment out from basting the bird and creaming the corn to rediscover some of the best scriptures on Thanksgiving, and how they apply even more so today.

Colossians 4:2

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” These words were written by the Apostle Paul and were directed to the church members in Colossae. (Modern day Turkey-how appropriate!) This verse was just a small snippet of the instructions Paul had for the Colossians, but it was powerful, nonetheless. Paul wanted them to pray and pray again, even when there were things they did not understand (like Paul being in prison for his faith) and to be watchful for the blessings they would give thanks for.

Psalms 107:8–9

“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” What a pleasant reminder! While many people are thankful for the second helping of pumpkin pie, Psalms 107 is a poetic reminder that all you need is God to fill your hungry soul!

2 Corinthians 4:15

“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” Now this verse is a shining example of how we celebrate the modern-day holiday; the more the merrier! Paul the Apostle originally wrote this letter to the church in Corinth because they were struggling to find unity. The basic message here is the more people that come together and give thanks, the more grace God will extend to them…don’t you have 3rd and 4th cousins you can invite to the table?

1 Chronicles 29:13

“And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.” These words were called out by King David to his assembly during a ceremony at the temple. The next day the people brought burnt offerings to the Lord consisting of 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs. Can you imagine watching all that food go up in flames and not consuming it? But they had so much thankfulness and faith in their hearts that they did so joyfully knowing they would be taken care of for all the days of their lives.

1 Timothy 4:4–5

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” Paul wrote these words in response to Jesus declaring all foods were clean and so, as long as you gave glory to God for what was in front of you, nothing was off limits. This did not mean you could gorge yourself because gluttony is a sin, but rather, God wanted you to acknowledge that He would always provide. Eat up!

As you go into the holiday season this year it is my hope for you and your family that you too will be able to give thanks to God, pray without ceasing, and know that even in your darkest hour, joy comes in the morning.

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