Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thanksgiving Day is primarily designated as being two things: the day before Black Friday and the day for being grateful.
Of course, some people skip both of these meanings in order to opt for a guilt-free day of gluttony. With all of these different ideas swarming about, how ought we approach this holiday?
First, gluttony does not cease to be sin simply for a holiday’s sake.
Well, that takes care of one.
And as for Black Friday, Jesus’ words against materialism and idolatry are too many to mention here, so let us scratch that one off as well.
But what about Thanksgiving being the day to be grateful?
For a follower of Christ, thanksgiving cannot be limited to one day. If we believe that Christ, the God-man, died in our place, then the entirety of our lives must be overflowing with thanksgiving.
In fact, a thankful spirit is so fundamental to the Christian life that Paul commands it in all circumstances. The final three words are the most difficult to bear. We are commanded to be thankful, regardless of our situation. This is God’s will.
Yet how can this be?
How can God command us to be thankful in the midst of unemployment, chronic illness, or the death of a loved one?
Is God unsympathetic to our circumstances?
No, instead, true thankfulness can only come from a sincere heart. Thus, it is God’s will for us to realize that as His children we always have a reason for giving thanks. Though our health or loved ones may fail us, our eternal and loving Father cannot fail.
In fact, it is no coincidence that only two verses before, Paul also commands that we “rejoice always.” When in all circumstances we are in communion with the One who is both good and sovereign in all circumstances, we have reason, then, to be thankful in whatever life throws our way.
May we, therefore, give thanks to the God that never fails us, not simply today but every day, in every circumstance.