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“Make a joyful noise to the Lord; all the earth … Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise” (Psalm 100: 1,4a).
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love all of the traditions, family, friends, food, and fellowship. Thanksgiving is a gift from God, a reflection of His goodness and loving kindness. In every season of life, we can give thanks because we love and serve a good and faithful God.
But sometimes we find it difficult to give thanks. How do we give thanks when we are out of a job, struggling with the loss of a loved one, dealing with a child in the throes of addiction, or reeling from a devastating medical diagnosis? Many of us this year have experienced great loss, filling our hearts with grief and pain.
Even so, the Scriptures teach us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We are often called to give thanks to God through our tears and lack of understanding, trusting in His sovereignty in our lives. In our most difficult circumstances, we can praise God for His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Jesus likewise promised His disciples at His Ascension that He would be with us always, even to the end of the age.
These promises can give us great hope, a reason to give thanks at all times. Even in difficult times. The promises of Scripture apply no matter how difficult our circumstances. The Lord is with us.
The apostle Paul wrote about giving thanks more than any other New Testament writer. His epistles include 23 references to giving thanks. Knowing that relationships are gifts from God, he wrote many letters filled with encouragement, sound teaching, and abundant love to the people entrusted in His care. Expressing our heartfelt gratitude to the Lord, he taught us, should be one of our greatest joys.
I encourage you to give thanks in all circumstances, extending Thanksgiving to each and every day. We have reason to, for God has given us His greatest gift: faith in Jesus.
The Rev. Toni BrownChief Financial Officer
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