A message by Pastor Duane Hanson.
We’re in the midst of a very busy holiday season. Within a few short weeks, we celebrate three significant holidays. It all starts with Thanksgiving, followed quickly by Christmas, which ushers in the New Year celebration. Each of these holidays have their own unique traditions. Families will celebrate each holiday differently, but at the core of each, should be A Thankful Heart.
The first of these important events is Thanksgiving. Sadly, many in our nation have forgotten why we should be thankful, and most importantly, to whom we should express that gratitude. As the Psalmist explains… It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord. [Psalm 92:1 KJV] Yes, it is a good thing to give thanks! And it’s the Lord God Almighty that deserves our genuine gratitude and appreciation for all that He’s done for us!
During a recent message, I shared the basic principles of having a thankful heart, which included a definition of the word “appreciation” and how it applies to our relationship with God. When we truly appreciate something, we should place “value” upon it, “prize” it above other things, and apply an “increased sense of worth” to it. Like any valuable piece of property or jewelry, it should continually increase in worth and value, which is known as “appreciation.” The same is true in our relationship with God. As we grow and mature in the Lord, our sense of “appreciation” towards Him should increase, because we become more and more aware of the true worth and value of His sacrifice for us.
By the time Christmas finally overtakes us, we may have become so engulfed in the busyness of the holiday that we neglect the real “reason for the season,” as the cliché so adequately puts it. We may forget the true meaning and value of the Christmas Advent, and become preoccupied by the shopping, parties and decorating, buying and wrapping of gifts, and all the other distractions that come with the holidays!
And finally, the New Year celebration will roll around and people will get caught up thinking about all the changes and “resolutions” they should make. It’s interesting how people see the New Year as a great opportunity to forget the past and make a fresh start of things. However, the beginning of a New Year is also a great time to take inventory of our life, and reflect on the past. The question remains; will we take the time to express our appreciation to God for all that He’s done for us this past year, and all that He’s prepared for us in the year to come? I do hope we stay focused on the purpose and the priorities of what we’re celebrating, and look forward to a New Year with a thankful heart!
There are so many scriptures that speak directly to this attitude of genuine appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness. The list would fill pages and pages, but let me just share a few…
Psalm 69:30 I will praise the Lord God with a song, and a thankful heart. ~ CEV
Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. ~ NLT
Psalm 50:23 The sacrifice that honors Me is a thankful heart. ~ CEV
As you celebrate each of these important holidays with family and friends, I hope you’ll take just a few moments and reflect on how blessed we are to have a Saviour who loves us, and find the time to express your love and gratitude towards Him with A Thankful Heart! ~ Selah!
Selah! …stop, meditate for a moment on this nugget of truth, and incorporate it into your life!