As pre-Christmas consumerism creeps up on us, let us not be swayed into it. Let us celebrate and hold on to Thanksgiving instead.
How to have gratitude? We tend so much to be appreciative of what we have and what our life offers: love, health, prosperity and freedom. We tend to start with our self, our family, our community, our country. Count your blessings, it is said. Be thankful. So I-centered.
Then we look again. Hunger, debts, poverty, AIDS, cancer, declining morals, war. What a mess we have got ourselves into. Or others got us into. How to be thankful? How to be thankful in all things? How to rejoice in tribulation?
Let us learn from these thanksgiving prayers. The prayers of deliverance: Davidís narration in 2 Samuel 22 and Isaiah 12:1-6, and Isaiah 25 and 26. Also, Hezekiahís story in Isaiah 38:9-20. The verses express these godly menís gratitude to God for what he has done. It hints of obedience. It encourages us to learn to exercise gratitude in the midst of waiting, even when things are looking bad.
Letís learn from David in 1 Chron 29:11-19. I love how he celebrates who God is. There is a hint of how God has blessed him and his people but no petition for more. What we really do have to be thankful for is for who God is.
Hereís one Iíve learned for this yearís thanksgiving: a Hebrew prayer called the Modeh Ani.
ďI give thanks before you, living and eternal king, for returning my soul in compassion. Great is your faithfulness.Ē
It is simple, so simple it is one of the first prayers taught to Jewish children. So simple that there are no special requirements related to the prayer--no need to wash oneís hands, no need to stand. So simple, you can say it while you are still in bed, first thing in the morning, as soon as your eyes open. It teaches us to be thankful daily. Thanksgiving is to be daily.
It is about being thankful for life itself.
Despite it all, what we may be going through, what the world may be going through, it tells us that in each of our lives, everything in our lives starts with us and God. It starts with a daily commitment. With this God. We can be thankful for that.
It is about coming to his throne, that we CAN come to his throne. That we HAVE to come to his throne. He is God. We can be thankful for that.
And he is King, our king, a king that is living and eternal. He is involved in our lives, in our world. He is in control. How amazing. We can be thankful for that.
He was there watching us through the night and we awaken our eyes to him. He returns my soul to me. He has given us life itself. But also another day, a new day, new hope. His mercies are new every morning. He offers hope.
More than that, it reminds us of resurrected life. He will return my soul to me. Because of what Jesus has done, God revived his Son from the dead. Likewise, as king he has ordained we too have that eternal life, which we know we can live here and now. Let us be thankful for that.
What a wonderful, simple prayer.
Great is His faithfulness. Said another way, his steadfast love endures forever. There is so much to be thankful for.