Am I thankful? Am I truly thankful? I ask myself this question often.
Gratitude, genuine gratitude is a virtue cultivated, by God’s grace, in the life of a believer that can have a considerable impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. The words “thank you” can often roll off our tongues as easily as ‘bless you’ does when someone sneezes. It is often just a verbal response to a particular cue. But it should be more, much more than a cued response. It can and should be a deep disposition of the heart.
Biblical gratitude is grounded in God’s love for us who are unrighteous, rather than in self-righteousness. The English word “gratitude” derives from the Latin root gratia, which means “grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.” The term most often translated as “thanksgiving” in the Bible is the Greek word eucharistos, which comes from two Greek roots: eu meaning “good” and charizomai (or charis) meaning “grace.” It isn’t a coincidence that the terms “grace” and “gratitude” come from the same Greek root word: According to the Bible, at the heart of gratitude is a response to the overwhelming grace of God. In some respects, showing gratitude is an act of humility.
G.K. Chesterton converted to Christianity at age 48, because he was thankful, but he didn’t know whom to thank. He famously wrote, “The worst moment for an atheist is when he is thankful and has no one to thank.” We can be thankful for material objects, but we surely can’t be thankful to material objects. When I wake up in the morning, I’m thankful to have a hot cup of coffee, but I never thank the coffee itself: I thank my wife for buying or brewing it for me.
True maturity occurs when we develop a deeper gratitude for the sacrifice(s) one makes on our behalf. As followers of Christ, we want to give overwhelming thanks to God for reaching down to us and calling us to himself, redeeming us from a life without hope to this new life in Christ. Our hearts should shout out in worship, our tongues cry out in praise and our lives lived out in ways that demonstrate we are thankful! Thankful for this act of grace, unmerited, and undeserved grace that has met the greatest need we will ever have. A relationship with our maker…forever and ever!
May I, may we, find our hearts filled with gratitude, first for the One who has saved us and for all things this season. At times gratitude does not come easily, but it is a conscious choice. I can choose to be thankful for family, friends, job, material blessings or lack thereof, the challenges before us, the trials, etc. May I, we, thank Him for all things, but most of all for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed His life for me and you.
And…. looking ahead…the Advent Season is upon us. I have assembled some resources you may find helpful to help keep your heart focused on the One whom we are to celebrate! May joy and gratitude be the greatest gifts you give and receive this Christmas Season!
If you wish to talk more about your relationship with our heavenly Father, I would love to visit with you. Please call or email me.
Christmas Matters by Anna Nash and Katy Shelton: Christmas Matters: How the Birth of Jesus Makes a Difference Every Day: Nash, Anna, Shelton, Katy: 9781563095443: Amazon.com: Books
The Ultimate Christmas Wishlist by Rico Tice: The Ultimate Christmas Wishlist – Briarwood Christian Bookstore
The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp: The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas: Voskamp, Ann: 8601421549028: Amazon.com: Books
Gifts of Grace by Jared C. Gifts of Grace – Briarwood Christian Bookstore
The God of Amazing Gifts by Lizzie Laferton: The God of Amazing Gifts – Briarwood Christian Bookstore
Love Came Down At Christmas by Sinclair Ferguson: Love Came Down at Christmas: A Daily Advent Devotional: Sinclair B Ferguson: 9781784982898: Amazon.com: Books
All titles are available in the Briarwood Bookstore, at Christian Booksellers.com, and on Amazon.