Today's Lectionary Text
Psalm 100:4Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Thanksgiving week is upon. Family time is wrapped in the spirit and attitude of gratitude. Giving thanks is scriptural instruction. Paul taught the Philippians on this vital aspect of thanksgiving. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” (Philippians 4:6) It is meant to give God his due honor and praise and to discipline us to acknowledge our dependence on Him.
I also see it as a way to discipline us to reflect on God’s mercy and to count our blessings, one by one. The patriarch Noah started this practice of thanksgiving. The Bible teaches us that when the earth dried up after the flood, Noah and his people left the ark. Noah then built an altar of thanksgiving and worshipped God. God was pleased with the aroma of Noah’s prayers and gratitude.
Thankfulness is an important cornerstone our Christian walk. As we enter in this week of appreciation, we are reminded to carry a non-anxious spirit and embrace the spirit of the season. Gratitude diffuses anxiety and allows us to gratefully focus more on God.
While we acknowledge the teaching and expectations of us to give things, we also understand that thanksgiving is a personal choice. We choose to enter God’s gates with gratitude and praises or not. Grateful people enjoy life and their friends, family, and the world. Let’s make the thanksgiving air and fragrance contagious. To borrow from the shoe commercial, just be thankful.
Lastly gratitude must not be a once-a-year week of thanks. This must be a daily habit which guides, influences and inspires how we live every day. “Give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100:4) Let us gather around our dinner tables this Thanksgiving, counting our blessings naming them one by one and reflecting on the goodness of God. Happy Thanksgiving!
-- Rev. Ever Madumbanuki
Nebraska City First UMC
Prayer for Reflection
O God teach us to be mindful of your presence in our Thanksgiving celebrations. We remain thankful and prayerful in all life situations acknowledging your presence always. Amen.
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