The Attitude of Gratitude

At the advent of November’s fourth Thursday, I’m taken with a nation joined by appreciation that, in spite of selfish bent, has perpetuated a day of thanks in tribute to its God-breathed foundation. As heart-warming sentiments satiate our homeland, respect to freedom and liberty reaches its annual peak; however, even with the uptick in selfless ruminations, Thanksgiving has modified into one of the most ironic holidays in our history, since many employ the celebrative mission without prevailing vision of thankfulness really means. But in placement of concern, I must commit to a higher faith. For such an institution, implemented by God at the beginning of time, has never wavered, sustaining course to liven hope. A basic rewind through history confirms this.

For before the creation of the world, thanksgiving existed as a result of relationship, evident within the Trinity. And through infinite time into post-creation, thanksgiving evolved through Cain & Abel, the Feast of Weeks, Noah’s offering, Pentecost, the Last Supper, from Plymouth Rock into our post-modern age. So as stories and revelations among centuries of antiquity merge, we find a significant truth, anchored to a rich and ordained heritage that surpasses textbook content.

Truth is: Thanksgiving is much more than an expression of regard and benediction; it is an emphatic attitude of gratitude that transcends tradition, refreshes reverence and enhances worship. Thanksgiving celebrates not only what we have, but what we give. It commemorates past, present and future sacrifices, inspiring us to continue ripening the fruit of goodness and generosity within. And while an annual day set apart for blessing is appropriate, this is only so as a result of the privilege we have to cultivate the sharing of it. For when a posture of gratefulness is fostered, we sharpen our swords to combat a deceptive negativity, one that contrasts the call to love God and our brother in intimate detail. How can we not see how great the honor is to participate in such veneration, to corporately value the way thanksgiving, whether by word or action, enlarges our capacity to encounter a deeper relational connect with one infinitely higher then ourselves, in turn, fastening our desires to : peace on earth, enduring joy and unconditional love.
Landing on an élite intro to any thankful list can be arduous. But if I had to pick one piece from a vast assortment, I would say, “I’m thankful for a God who doesn’t give up.” Yes, God gives us so many things to be thankful for, but the one thing he absolutely doesn’t give is “up”. He never relinquishes reforming the yielded heart, moving them to seek the inherent mysteries of grace. And grace, in favor and spiritual blessing, stirs us to a stronger belief in the wanting of what we don’t deserve, to be established to the end, called into companionship and participation with Christ.  Thus, Thanksgiving should be celebrated as a day that honors the joy experienced by permanent illumination, by unity in humility that constantly reminds us just how blessed we truly are. And my blessedness is, no doubt, enriched by those who have extended the same grace bestowed by my Creator. How thankful I am for the expansive list of those I’ve met who have gone against the grain to live as imitators of Christ, holding true to truth by allowing it to override any lacking of holy inhabitation. Assuredly, I am rejuvenated by the serendipitous and divinely deliberate moments uniformly marked by consecrated invasion, and equally encouraged by the advancements that have narrated this new book, contracted through rubble now into a season of fresh ink and a restored plotline.

I leave with the three Scriptures and a couple stanzas, written in recent years (slightly edited), that have collided with current heart to mark my Thanksgiving this year…
I'm thankful for so many things, a list can barely show
The magnitude of gratitude in all He will bestow
But still to mark in history
Is best than lost in mystery
So listen well So I may tell
The year from each periphery
I'm thankful God is always on
The current, next, and times foregone
The moments I'm in sync to plan
Even when I cannot stand
I rejoice for friends and brand new faces
And distance to unchartered places
A family with unique resolve
And strength to rise and not dissolve
And futures glazed with promised hope
A God faithful to broaden scope
And render us no longer captive
Free to live with love so active
Beheld I seek my Diadem
Awed at wonders sured to stem
With much oblige, I say to You
My all is Yours for all You do
Lord, may our country now appease
To yield again to God on knees
Of reckless and fearless abandon
Please be our will for us to stand in
And lead us on to higher calls
And break down all afflicting walls
Teach us to be thankful when
We fight to find on earth, heaven
In times of excitement, times of enlightenment I call upon thanksgiving 
And while said past, I sum at last Its better name, thanksliving 
‘Cause life’s too short to pass a day 
Where praise is out, as if at fray 
If airs within is lost, we’ll find 
To live as pleased enchants the mind It elevates immortal joy 
And goodness bounds to fill and cloy 
Our longing for a higher will 
That steadies paths with holy seal 
May yearning for the right lead on 
To gratitude and fear undone 
Let toasts be made to hands divine 
For favor, rest; for bread and wine
A year of marveled restoration 
Releasing gracious transformation 
So now I bid a cheer to dear 
Thanksgiving and her wondrous sphere
Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living and committed to seeking GOD. Ponder the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were dug. Yes, ponder Abraham, your father, and Sarah, who bore you. Think of it! One solitary man when I called him, but once I blessed him, he multiplied. Likewise I, GOD, will comfort Zion, comfort all her mounds of ruins. I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden, her moonscape into the garden of GOD, A place filled with exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs.” ~ Isaiah 51:1-3 (MSG)

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” ~ Colossians 3:15-17 (MSG)

Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!” ~ Hebrews 12:28-29 (MSG)

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