giving thanks and being thankful

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5

Thanksgiving and gratitude are not only underrated, but practically made light of. Instead we prefer to grumble about people or circumstances, when we’re told explicitly in scripture not to do so. But that is one of our not only pardonable, but acceptable sins.

Instead we are to be thankful out of faith, no less. We thank God whether or not we feel like it, or understand well why we should. But understanding is certainly in the mix, because we thank God for who God is, and what God is doing and will do according to his promise in Jesus. We are in the midst of life with all its hard knocks and setbacks. But we are confident by faith that God is at work in all of that, and that the big picture and long view, indeed the ending is good, even if tragedy and plenty of difficulty precede it.

This isn’t easy. We need to practice new habits, not just get rid of old ones. We can develop and nurture a thankful attitude, or gratitude, by simply practicing thanksgiving, or giving thanks, even in situations which are tough. We try to find reasons to be thankful, not as some kind of absurdity, but because we believe, we have faith in the God revealed in scripture in Jesus.

This isn’t a matter of positive, glass half full, rather than half empty thinking, but rather, we are learning to think with faith, according to what scripture teaches us, and God’s revelation to us in the gospel, the good news in Jesus. Something I am wanting to put more and more into practice, and grow in, this new year.

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