The Thanksgiving of Grace-Full Heart

Nov 23, 2022

This Thanksgiving, do you see yourself as blessed? When we stop and count our blessings, many times we default to being thankful for the positives in our lives — good health, material provision, family, friends and more. Without even knowing it, we tend to measure and compare our blessings against societal standards. Then, on the last Thursday of November every year, we collectively take a breath, pause and consider the One from whom these blessings flow.

If we were to be honest, though, there are times when we’re not feeling overly thankful. Perhaps life has dealt us a series of cruel blows and our reality feels more like loss than abundance. Like a bad case of long COVID, we need only look around to see the lingering effects of a global pandemic, stifling inflation and disconcerting societal and political rifts that attempt to separate and isolate us from each other. These realities threaten to replace heartfelt gratitude with fear and self-preservation.

It’s right here –– at the crossroads of where our experience meets God’s invisible and immutable truth –– that we must decide what and who to believe. John 1:16 tells us that “from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” These 10 short words pack a powerful punch. Gratitude takes on an entirely new dimension when we understand that we have access to the “fullness of God” through Jesus Christ. From God’s fullness –– His abundance, His presence, His power, His riches –– we are filled.

Almighty God comes to us from a position and predisposition of “fullness,” not scarcity. And when God stepped into history in human form, all the “fullness” of God was poured into His Son, Jesus Christ. “We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The fullness of God is complete in His Son, so when we are found in the Son, we are complete as well.

Hallelujah and thanks be to God! Understanding the truth of our “completeness” in Christ causes “Thanksgiving” to take on a whole new meaning! In Him, we are recipients of grace –– and not just grace, but “grace upon grace.” It’s a grace that just keeps coming, that just keeps pouring out. It saturates our perspective until we know that we have “everything we need” in Him for life (2 Peter 1:3). When that knowledge soaks our hearts, it grows seeds of gratitude that are not choked out by circumstances. It moves our thanksgiving from temporal to eternal, from material to spiritual, from that which is fading to that which is incorruptible.

We are now empowered to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It is the thanksgiving of a grateful –– and grace-full –– heart.

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