This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. We always risk the danger of being distracted with football and Black Friday savings, but if we slow down and ponder the things we should be thankful for, then we will understand the true meaning and develop a great joy.
In Psalm 126, the psalmist looked back upon the return of God’s people from exile, and wrote:
When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! (126:1-3)
This rush of joy should be the same feeling we get when we think of our salvation in Jesus. Our sin had trapped us in a spiritual exile with little hope of escaping the darkness. Then, by giving us Jesus, God pulled us out of hopelessness. Like a wonderful dream, the Righteous King gave himself from sheer mercy and love and brought us into his people and his eternal land.
Our sins forgiven and our eternal hope secured—what laughter it should cause and what songs of joy should be sung!
When we ponder such salvation, our hearts should surge with thanksgiving. More than for food, more than for social freedoms, and more than for family, our minds should be overwhelmed with gratefulness for what God has done for us in Jesus.
As we let our hearts be thankful for salvation and we let joy fill our minds over what God has done, then we can be properly thankful for other good things, other evidences of God’s grace in our lives. Then, when the world sees our thankfulness and joy, they will see that God has indeed done great things for us.
Joy is a witness. Thankfulness points beyond ourselves. We acknowledge a greater Giver, a greater Rescuer, a greater King. This points others to the same source of hope and we can sing along as one voice: “Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!”
This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.