This Thanksgiving, Thank God for Past, Present, and Future Blessings
God’s Word can help you cultivate thankfulness in every season
Be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 GNT
Like last year, this Thanksgiving probably feels a little different for most of us.
We have our memories of Thanksgivings past—dinners with family members and friends, church services, football games, food drives. And we each have our own hopes for Thanksgivings that will, one day, feel normal again.
But what if we’re struggling to “be thankful in all circumstances,” such as the ongoing uncertainty of Thanksgiving in 2021?
As we consider the complicated feelings we might have toward this upcoming holiday, it’s helpful to remember a moment in Thanksgiving’s history.
You might be surprised to learn that American Bible Society has a historical tie to Thanksgiving. Our first president, Elias Boudinot, had a special place in his heart for the virtue of thankfulness. In 1789, his conviction helped inspire President George Washington to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation to the Governors of the States, which stated that “Thursday, the 26th day of November . . . be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”
For both Boudinot and Washington, the focus of Thanksgiving was not their present circumstances, their fond memories of the past, or their hopes for the future. Instead, the focus of Thanksgiving was God and his abundant blessings to the American people. These founders understood that regardless of the circumstances or challenges we face in different seasons, we can always depend on the love and care of our heavenly Father, who is the “author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”
This Thanksgiving, we can take these words to heart as we reflect on God’s many blessings in our lives. Here are three truths from Scripture to mediate on as we thank God for his blessings—past, present, and future—this Thanksgiving.
Thank God for past blessings.
“Remember that the LORD your God is the only God and that he is faithful. He will keep his covenant and show his constant love to a thousand generations of those who love him and obey his commands.”
Deuteronomy 7:9 GNT
God promises to be faithful to us.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, take time to look back and identify past blessings. Thank God for the ways he answered your prayers this year. Maybe he provided a new home or blessed your family with a new child. Maybe he restored a friendship or granted you healing from disease. Or maybe you felt his loving presence in some of the darkest, loneliest moments of your life.
Spend a few minutes thinking about how God has been faithful to you, and thank him for the blessings he has given you in the past.
Thank God for present blessings.
The LORD’s unfailing love and mercy still continue,
Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.
Lamentations 3:22-23 GNT
God promises to be good to us.
Each day, we can count God’s blessings. Sunlight in the morning. Words of encouragement from a coworker. A warm, delicious bowl of soup. A song that speaks to your soul. A scene of trees in the middle of their annual fall costume change. A verse of Scripture that comes to mind just when you need it. God loves us enough to show his care for us in the seemingly mundane moments of our daily lives.
Spend a few minutes thinking about how God has shown his goodness to you today, and thank him for this evidence of his love for you.
Thank God for future blessings.
Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away.
1 Peter 1:3-4 GNT
God promises us a future full of hope.
Even when we experience uncertainty, sorrow, or fear, we can always look forward to a future full of hope. In Jesus Christ, our future is secure. No matter what next Thanksgiving looks like—or the one after that, or all the Thanksgivings to come—we can rest in God’s love for us. This fills us with eternal hope and gives us a reason for thankfulness this Thanksgiving, and every other day of the year.
Spend a few minutes thinking about how God’s promises to you mean that your future is secure, and thank him for the way he gives you hope through his Word.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones near and far, may you experience true thankfulness and fullness of joy as you experience God’s love for you through his Word:
“Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe.”
Hebrews 12:28 GNT
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