My close friends know that autumn is my favorite season. I attribute my love of it to my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Allen, who kicked off the year with a creative writing assignment describing fall with our five senses. Working on that assignment in beautiful, autumn-tree canopied Michigan initiated a taste for the flavors of fall that I’ve never been able to outgrow—even after moving to the wind-swept brown hills of California and then to the constant green equatorial Uganda. Despite my autumnless homes over the past 25 years, this season, with its culmination in Thanksgiving, is nostalgically embedded in my being.
One thing I noticed about a week after stringing red, orange, and yellow-colored fabric leaves around my house with a variety of pumpkin décor was the words that I had hung on my fall banners. I had hung signs with “grateful” and “thankful” as festive décor. But as I read the words throughout my days, especially the days that felt more laden with difficult counseling sessions and sticky conflict resolution than heaps of pumpkins from the patch and barrels of apples from the orchard, I read those messages in my house, “grateful”, “thankful”. And the messages didn’t stop with the words.
These words spoke counsel to my heart, “Be grateful.” “Give thanks in all things.” And something transformational happened. Instead of whispering to my heart the challenges needing to be solved and the workload calling to be accomplished, my verbalization of thankfulness lifted the weight of my cares to remember the reality of God’s goodness. Thanking God for specific provision and praising Him for His character removed me from my present dilemmas to enter His presence.
God commands me to, “Enter into His presence with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” Thankfulness is a command, but also a gift: a gift to Him and a gift to ourselves. With who God is and all He has done for us and given to us, our only appropriate response is praise and thanks. He deserves nothing less.
Yet, our God is so kind that He doesn’t demand praise and thanks because He is selfish. Actually, He knows that praise and thanks is the best posture for us. We are most joyful when our minds are filled with thanks and our hearts are full of praise. Thankfulness is God’s gift to us. I only wish I utilized this gift more consistently instead of leaving the wrapped package unopened. God gave me the gift. It is up to me to open it and use it.
When I take down my “thankful” signs this Friday and replace them with signs of “Joy” and “Peace”, I am resolved to keep the banners of “thankful” stored in my heart. I want to practice my gift of thankfulness all year long to give God the gift He deserves and to orient my heart to the posture He designed. After all, “Praise befits the upright” (Psalm 33:1). It is the appropriate attitude every day of the year.
From all of us at SOS Ministries, Happy Thanksgiving!
A Thank You From Legacy Christian Academy!
If you haven't had a chance already, watch this short video of a few of our Legacy students sharing their love for you and LCA! We hope you are encouraged!