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Nov 03, 2019 08:00am
Grateful: Not Just a Word on a Sign at Hobby Lobby
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Hard to believe it’s already November, and it doesn’t seem possible, but it’s the month that officially begins the holiday season . . . 

But before we get to that red and green holiday, let’s talk about the importance of November and the thankfulness that marks the season. 

This is how my friend Andy Comer (andycomer.org) characterizes this time period: 

“The football season is halfway over, flu season is in full swing, hunting season is finally here, and thanksgiving season is definitely in the air.

“Isn’t it funny how we tend to be more thankful this time of year? Sure, on the one hand, we should be thankful every day of the year. Scripture is pretty clear on the matter: ‘Be thankful’ (Colossians 3:15).

“But on the other hand, I think it’s healthy to have a time of year when we are extra dialed in to the things we are thankful for. When we’re thankful, our perspective changes. 

“We’re not focused on our temporary circumstances but the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ. We’re not focused downward on our specific situation, but rather our eyes look upward to the Lord who is in control.

Being thankful changes your perspective.”

I would not advise googling “History of Thanksgiving” to give us that perspective, however. What you’ll find is that our elementary school, romanticized version of Thanksgiving was not exactly accurate. I think we all know that our forefathers were not exactly pure of heart, especially when it came to the Native Americans they found living happily on this continent. 

Nevertheless, there was certainly a measure of intentionality back in 1621 from those religious and community leaders who declared a meal of thanks-giving to encourage gratefulness for God’s providence. Those who celebrated that first “thanks-giving” were survivors of a harsh winter and disease that killed their friends and family members. 

Almost 400 years later, commercialism has made words like gratefuland blessed trendyespecially when printed on barn wood in fancy script. To the Christian, however, they should mean so much more. 

Because of what Jesus did on the cross. 

God is Provider; it’s one his many names, and that provision comes in the form of eternal hope and eternal life. 

How do I know that? Not because of what I was taught to believe or some words is once said but because of how he changed my life. Jesus didn’t make me better or perfect; he made me complete and free and profoundly grateful for wiping the slate clean. 

Let us not, as Andy said, “focus on our temporary circumstances but the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ.” Let this season “change your perspective” to a humble, repentant, falling-down-on-your knees kind of gratitude.

Start by making a list this season beginning with who you are in Christ.  Think about all the ways God has blessed you, list them and write down a prayer of thanks. After all…

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17).

by Holly Meriweather

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