I watched in delight and great interest yesterday as Thanksgiving greetings came by email, text, and social media. We even had a few phone calls of family members calling to say “Happy Thanksgiving.” Almost all of those folks spent time with family and enjoyed a leisurely day.
Late in the day I began to think about so many people who had a “disruptive” Thanksgiving day. For them, everything was different. Some were alone while others felt alone in a big crowd. Some were alone for the first time.
Some holidays are really difficult.
Sometimes the circumstances of life seem overwhelming.
Thanksgiving was made for those kinds of experiences. Two passages–one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament–show us the power of giving thanks in all circumstances of life.
Habakkuk the prophet lived at a momentous time in history. The world was changing and not in a good way. Habakkuk prayed and ended his prayer in this way: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
He knew how to give thanks in the hard times.
So did the Apostle Paul. Paul suffered a life of hardship. He had been beaten with rods and whips, thrown in prison, and shipwrecked. He knew hard times.
When he wrote to the people of Thessalonica, he encouraged them to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). He didn’t ask them to give thanks “for” all the circumstances but “in” the circumstances.
Real thanksgiving occurs when we are able to rejoice in the Lord and give thanks in the midst of the hard times.
May God bless those who are having hard times. May God give you the grace to give thanks to the Lord in all your circumstances. “For the Lord is good. His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).
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