I’m realizing that the Who in Thanksgiving makes all the difference. I’ve been thinking through lists of things I’m thankful for, which I’m sure I’ll share as the days move toward Turkey Day. I’ve been eager to cultivate a grateful heart for the little and big things in my life that produce joy, peace and blessing. But, I have to admit that I’m finding it a little empty. Yes, recognizing those people and things is rewarding, and the experiences with them are good to savor. But, people and things come and go. Thanksgiving really gains its power when it pushes me to recognize and praise the WHO responsible for my blessings large and small. Like faith, thankfulness is at its most potent when it has an object.
One of Little Drummer Boy’s favorite bedtime story books is his Rhyme Bible (which I highly recommend.) It includes a story about how God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and gave him a son. Our favorite part is the last page, where “Abraham jumped for joy, when he saw his baby boy.” At this point, LDB always asks, “why did he lose his shoes?” The illustration literally depicts how Abraham must have felt when God’s gift truly knocked his socks (and shoes) off. When I look back at the actual promise God made to Abraham years before his son was born, I’m reminded of His purpose in blessing Abraham.
“And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing.” (genesis 12:2)
Blessed to be a blessing–that was God’s promise. If adopting a life of gratitude is to have a true impact on me in the day to day realities, being thankful is just the seed. To become a blessing is the fruition. Knowing the Who who made it possible enables the cultivation in between. With all blessings of peace, joy, grace, mercy and love–those most-sought-after and precious gifts–we can only give out of our own overflow. And, my ability to bless others begins with a commitment to bless the Lord first. So, who is this Who drawing my eyes upward in thanksgiving? We know Him by His actions:
He pardons… bringing the sweet restoration of forgiveness, the freedom of a clean slate in a world that takes names
He heals… applying the gentle balm of repair, the relief of wholeness in a world with open wounds
He redeems… repurchasing the squandered wealth of life, the hope of second chances in a world built on “all sales final”
He crowns… bestowing the undeserved protection of mercy, the birthright of belonging in a world of refugees
He satisfies… enabling the simple generosity of contentment, the joy of open hands in a world with a white knuckle grip
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
With all that is within me, indeed. May I freely bless as He blesses?