Monday, November 23, 2015

real Thanksgiving

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 118:28-29

This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving. It is often a celebration of excess, more than it is an expression of thankfulness, but it doesn't have to be. Christians should be motivated to turn the holiday into a season of joy-filled praise. Rather than making it about a list of material things that kicks off a season of listing even more things we want for Christmas, if Thanksgiving focuses on God, it becomes a deep personal act of worship. At least that's what I see being applied here in this Psalm.

Psalm 118 focues personally on God: "You are my God, and I will give thanks to You." The center is on  the blessing of God's personal presence and relationship with Him. And it is written around animal sacrifice in God's house (see Psalm 118:26) which is not the kind of grateful picture I'd normally associate with thankfulness! Imagine the squirming lamb bound to the altar, bleating before it's throat is cut and blood pours down the altar. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Yet if Old Testament saints could rejoice and thank God for His faithful love in the Law's most demanding elements, how much more can we New Testament believers thank God through the finality and gift of the life of Jesus? We should  rejoice in the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

I thank You that through Jesus I am forgiven. Broken sinner that I am, I can come to You with a grateful heart. There was nothing I could bring of merit. Jesus did it all. I thank You for Your faithful, steadfast love in Christ, for that is what I desperately need the most. 

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