The Day After Thanksgiving

The Day After Thanksgiving

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

If your Thanksgiving holiday was anything like mine it was probably filled with lots of family, food, and football. And hopefully, at some point during the festivities, there was a moment of personal reflection for recounting God’s faithful work in our lives throughout the year past.

But today it’s over. It’s the day after Thanksgiving.  The family has gone home. The left overs are in the fridge. And the football is off the air, at least for a little while.

So…now what?

Is Thanksgiving something we gather to do once a year, indulging ourselves for a few hours, and then going our separate ways back to normal life? Or is there a way to take this special day with us every day, all year long?

In the fifth chapter of his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul boldly declares that Thanksgiving is more than a holiday—it is a day-to-day:

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

As we move forward into the rest of the year until next Thanksgiving, there are two settings in which we must give thanks daily, and one strategy to help us do it. God’s graciousness demands our gratitude, in all circumstances, and this is not an easy feat.

Setting #1: Good Times
Good times present one of the most treacherous traps to giving thanks in all circumstances. When all is well in our world, if we are not cautious, the contagion of comfort and poison of pride can begin to creep into our lives. Rather than having an attitude of gratitude we can begin to believe the lie that we, not God, are responsible for our successes or well-being.

Setting #2: Hard Times
Hard times reveal our true commitment to giving thanks in all circumstances. When we find ourselves in times of desert drought we tend to focus inwardly, summoning all our strength to rise to the challenge before us, rather than resting in the power that only God can provide. Instead of thanking him for what he is teaching us through our trials, we tend to fall victim to frustration and complaint.

Strategy: Look Upon The Cross
There is only one strategy that allows us to give thanks, both in good and hard times—the cross of Jesus Christ.

In good times, when all is well, looking upon the cross creates humility—allowing us to give thanks for God’s saving grace. None of us are as smart or savvy as we think we are when we stare at what Jesus did for us at Calvary. We are simply sinners. We only have good times in our lives because of his pardon and provision. And coming to this realization produces praise—daily thankfulness for who God is and what he has done.

In hard times, when everything seems to be going wrong, looking upon the cross creates hope—allowing us to give thanks for God’s victory over sin and death. Even if our trial will not pass until we head home to heaven, we have confident assurance that it will come to an end, and that a surpassing glory awaits us with our Lord Jesus. This assurance also produces praise—daily appreciation for the celebration to come.

Thanksgiving all year long? Yes, it is possible—in good times and in hard times—if we will look upon the selfless sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In the cross alone is the power of humility and hope—the source of true gratitude that will never fade away.

IT’S YOUR TURN: Add your comments! How do you stay thankful for God’s work in your life all year long? What are some practical strategies you use in your daily life to maintain an attitude of praise and gratitude?

Tim Hiller

Tim Hiller is a former collegiate and NFL quarterback who uses the platform of his celebrated football career to serve others—sharing his faith and experiences through speaking, writing, and his work with Next Level Performance—leaving a lasting impact on all who hear his powerful message.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Great word Tim! We need to trade “Thanksgiving” for “Thanksliving”! In doing so I learn to thank Him in the valleys as well as on the mountain! Remember, nothing grows on the mountain top, but check out the valleys…they are lush and green! Have a blessed day

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