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True Gratitude

November 21 2016
November 21 2016
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We wanted to encourage parents to be talking with your children this week about thankfulness and true gratitude. In CE this past week, we discussed a deeper meaning and how thanksgiving can lead us toward Advent. As we approach the American Holiday of Thanksgiving this November, we want to turn our mindsets toward a gospel-forward view of true thanksgiving. It is when we truly see ourselves rightly before God and what he has done, that only then can we experience true gratitude.

“Gratitude that is pleasing to God is not first a delight in the benefits God gives (though that is part of it). True gratitude must be rooted in something else that comes first, namely, a delight in the beauty and excellency of God's character. If this is not the foundation of our gratitude, then it is not above what the "natural man," apart from the Spirit and the new nature in Christ, experiences. In that case "gratitude" to God is no more pleasing to God than all the other emotions which unbelievers have without delighting in him.”

Thanksgiving does not come naturally to sinful people. Grumbling and disputing comes natural (Philippians 2:14). Gratitude is the heart’s response to seeing and experiencing grace. And we must intentionally look for grace. It’s all around us. But selfishness distorts the lenses of our heart-eyes. So, we need scriptural prescription lenses to see right.

Many nations have special days for giving thanks. In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is always the fourth Thursday in November.

Wherever we are in the world, there are at least two requirements for any sort of thanksgiving to happen: something we’re thankful for and somebody to thank. As obvious as that may seem, it’s amazing how many people can say, “I’m thankful for . . .” in a sort of generic way without admitting, or even realizing, that God is there to hear their thanks. And they’re certainly not giving him credit for whatever it is they’re grateful for.

This year, as is often true, the first day of Advent falls on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. Then for the next four weeks, it’s as if we’re re-enacting, remembering the thousands of years God’s people were anticipating and longing for the coming of God’s salvation, for Jesus. That’s what advent means — coming.

May this be a week filled with thanksgiving, leading us into a season of reflection on what our lives are — gratitude for the promises that were fulfilled when God gave us the gift of his son and anticipation of and preparation for Christ’s coming again. And may our lives, homes, activities, and celebrations reflect the true treasure of our hearts.

{Excerpts taken from Desiring God}


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