Within the fabric of our nation is a desire to give thanks to God. Despite this, many people desire to remove God from the equation and just be thankful. Logically this makes no sense. Gratitude must be directed. Thankfulness is not an end, it is a means. Which leads to the question, why do people long to be thankful even if their thankfulness is meaningless?
It is because we are designed to give thanks. At the core of humanity is a desire to appreciate, a desire to recognize the source of goodness, to acknowledge the gift giver. This inherent quality of gratitude is exclusive to mankind. It is not something you see in the plant or animal kingdom. Why is this? It is because the Creator placed within us a longing to give glory (Isaiah 43:7). We sense this longing inside of us and we desire to express it. It is natural to who we are, creatures of gratitude.
But there is a problem.
In engraving this attribute upon our soul, God’s intent was not for us to be thankful for thankfulness sake, but to be thankful towards Him. He is to be the recipient of our groaning to be grateful. Perhaps the best summation of this reality is found in Romans 11:36, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Italics added). We, however, because of the blindness caused by the fall, we recognize the gift, sense the longing, but fail to be grateful towards God. Romans 1:21 says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Despite the good gifts that flow from our “beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” we stop short and are thankful in general, but not towards our Creator. Our thankfulness falls short of its intended goal, just as we are told in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God“
This falling short of being thankful to the Lord is sin, and it cannot go unpunished. This is why the wrath of God is coming. Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
Therefore, Thanksgiving, in a way is both a good and bad day, for it is a time where God SHOULD receive appreciation, but unfortunately in many homes across this nation He does not, and the wrath of God looms heavy over those souls.
But there is a solution.
The ultimate gift of God is Jesus Christ. He is the One we should be supremely thankful for. He came and absorbs the wrath of God due to our ingratitude, and he does this for all who believe in his sinless life, substitutionary death, and resurrection from the grave. Upon placing our faith in Christ we become a new creation by the power of the Spirit of God dwelling inside of us. The Spirit gives us the capacity to see not only the gifts, but also see the Gift Giver. As a new creature of Christ we have hearts that overflow with thankfulness. A Christian does not give thanks on only one day but gives thanks every day.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” – Colossians 3:16