All throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites were admonished to remember. To remember who God is. To reflect on His wonders and His mighty deeds. To speak of Him to their children and grandchildren. To never, ever forget.
That command is true for us all these millennia later. We are to cease striving and know that He is God. To think on what He has done in our lives personally and in the lives of our loved ones. His involvement in human history throughout the ages.
It doesn’t stop with remembering. What is the natural (and I think the only) response to contemplating the fact that the Lord of the Universe loves me, never stops doing good for me, and is in control of all things?
It’s to say, “Thanks.”
To give thanks to God for being God and for being good. A good memory is the best aid we have to living a life of gratitude. It helps to put the difficult things that enter our lives into perspective, to give us hope for the future. Bitterness flees when gratefulness enters our minds and takes up residence in our hearts.
That’s why I love Thanksgiving. Before our country was even formed as an independent nation, we developed a custom of taking time out to thank the King of Kings for the many blessings He lavishes upon us. It’s a day set aside to slow down and remember.
And it’s why I struggle with watching the yearly progression of Thanksgiving getting shortened and squeezed out. Instead of a relaxing day spent recounting our blessings, Americans seem to prefer a hectic rush to stores to spend money they don’t have on gifts people don’t need and often don’t want.
I find it refreshing to read all the heartfelt greetings I receive every year at this time from my dear Romanian friends, thanking God for their many gifts. These Romanian staff members still carry on the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving that we Americans introduced to them more than 20 years ago.
And that makes me extremely grateful.
“One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations.”
~St. John of Avila
“When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become gift?”
~Ann Voskamp in “One Thousand Gifts”