It’s that time of year when an abundance of food is prepared and we stuff ourselves beyond our waistband. Admit it, you unbutton that waistband or you wear elastic on Thanksgiving! We enjoy our time with our families and friends, although this year may be different for us. The name of the day isn’t “turkey day” but Thanksgiving day. We need to get back to what this day should celebrate. Not that I’m ready to give up my elastic band day at all. I love to eat and enjoy food with others. So what does it mean to get back to Thanksgiving?
I’m sure there have been times when you have gone around the table and asked everyone to share something for which they are thankful. This is a great exercise and opportunity to discuss what God has done for you during the year. Perhaps you’ve been at the table and someone takes what you were going to say. You’re getting nervous trying to think of something else to say. When it’s your turn you say the first thing that comes in your head. It may not really be something for which you’ve considered being thankful. Can you still be thankful for it? Yes, you can, but this thankfulness doesn’t include gratitude.
Some of you may think I’m splitting hairs here and maybe I am. I’ve been thinking about what the difference between thanks and gratitude really is. Each of these words are used in the definition of the other, so they are closely related. I think that gratitude has more to do with our attitude. Gratitude is a warm deep appreciation that gives recognition to the value of the gift. This sounds like an attitude of the heart to me. I had to ask myself when the last time was that I spent time just really appreciating what God has done and continues to do in my life. Thankfulness is part of my life but it’s not always accompanied by deep appreciation. This takes thinking and time. Most of us move from one thing to another and don’t take time to meditate on those things that give us cause to say thanks. What am I suggesting?
David says in Psalm 143:5, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.” To meditate on something means to think deeply and carefully about it. The result of meditating on all God has done is gratitude. This is an attitude of our heart. When we take the time to meditate, what flows out of us is thankfulness motivated by deep gratitude. motivating it. Our thankfulness becomes deeper than words on a page. Listing things we are thankful for is both good and needful. The purpose of the list is to get our mind headed in the right direction toward giving thanks. However, the list can’t change our attitude until we take time to really chew on what God has done for us.
As we are unbuttoning our waistband, digesting our turkey, and watching football, let’s remember one thing God has done for us this year. Then let’s meditate on it. As we do this, we will begin to fill a warm deep appreciation for our God. He knows each of us intimately so he knows what we need and when we need it. That truth should bring a deep appreciation to each of us as we meditate on it.
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” Psalm 145:3