18th November 2012

Thanksgiving

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Ephesians 5:19-20 (NIV UK)

Most Americans have begun preparations for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday, looking forward to this special time with family and friends over good food. In the USA Thanksgiving is observed on the fourth Thursday of November—this year November 22. As believers, of course, we don’t limit giving thanks to God to a single day, because giving thanks is the keynote of our lives and our worship.

The Greek-speaking Christians called the Lord’s Supper Eucharist, which means “thanksgiving.” And no wonder, because the greatest gift of all is the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus has washed away all our sins, become one with us in such a way that he will never let us go, raised us with him in his resurrection and included us in the fellowship he has with the Father.

In Jesus, we find that the Father loves us unconditionally, and that the Father sent his Son not out of anger or a need to punish someone, but out of his immeasurable love and his unbending commitment to our redemption. We see this in Ephesians 2:1-10.

And even though none of us deserves God’s favour, he loves us anyway. He not only forgives all our sins, but also lives in us by the Holy Spirit and transforms us into people who love him and love others just as he loves us.

Titus 2:11-14 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

There is no greater comfort than to know that God is faithful to us, even when we are not faithful to him. As the father of the prodigal son, God never gives up on us, and always runs to meet us in joy when he sees us coming down the path toward home.

That’s the gospel—the good news of God’s love for every one of us—good news that we have the blessing to spread. And I want all of our viewers and listeners to know that it is your faithfulness in prayer and in financial support, and the faithfulness of others like you, that makes us able to spread this good news.

So again, let me thank you for all you do in Christ’s service and for being who you are in him. May God bless you, whether an American or not, with a joyous Thanksgiving celebration!

Prayer
Holy Father, may we always be truly thankful for the love you show us and the salvation offered to us. Help that thankfulness deepen year by year and, as a response, help us draw ever closer to you. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by Joseph Tkach

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