Grace and Gratitude
November 20, 2023
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1
When I was a kid, my favorite part of Thanksgiving was the food. I was amazed by the quantity and dishes I only ate once a year. However, as an adult the food is no longer my favorite, but there are different joys. I cherish the time with family members. It brings a smile to my face to see new generations added to the table. I am no longer drawn to the food but to the fellowship and reminder of God’s faithfulness.
For many families, it is Thanksgiving tradition to ask what each attendee is thankful for. While it seems simple, the practice can be impactful. When we reflect on God’s work in the past it should stir up gratitude in us.
Psalm 136 gives a beautiful example of reflecting on God’s faithfulness and continually returning to gratitude. The psalm opens with “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” It starts with a bold declaration of praise for who God is.
Then, for 26 verses the author recounts God’s faithfulness: from creation, the Exodus, and the crossing of the Red Sea, to the years in the wilderness and entering the promised land. Verse after verse, the psalm lays out the goodness of God through each experience, hardship and situation. After each phrase the author declares “His love endures forever”.
The phrase “His love” or in some translations, “His mercy endures forever” is repeated 26 times in this psalm alone. Many theologians believe Psalm 136 was a call and response and perhaps sung on a daily basis. The people recognized the significance of the Lord’s mercy in their lives and didn’t neglect to thank God for it. The love of our Heavenly Father still endures and the greatest demonstration of his never-ending mercy is seen through the life and work of Jesus. When we let that truth fill our hearts we always have a reason to give thanks.
As you look down your Thanksgiving table this year, look beyond the feast, and remember who it is that brought you there. See the faces of those gathered and thank the Lord for their presence. For some, looking down the table is a joyful picture. For others it is painful and the sight is fractured by tension, loss or grief. Whatever situation your Thanksgiving holds, may the truth of God’s love for you bring to mind his faithfulness and turn your heart to gratitude.
As you prepare for the holiday, spend some time reflecting. How has God been faithful in the last year? As you remember God’s enduring love, how can you give him thanks for who he is?
Heavenly Father, Thank you for your goodness and love. Thank you for your grace and the gift of your son. We pray that gratitude isn’t something that fills our hearts just once a year, but each day. Give us eyes to see your faithfulness and how you have worked in every situation. May your never-ending love for us always draw our hearts back to giving you thanks. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray, Amen.
Spiritual Care Coordinator
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