Hello Everyone and Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  I am presently with my mom in Oak Harbor, Washington.  It is good to see her as well as share Thanksgiving with two of my syblings.  There will be 15 all together from the youngest of 17 months to my mom who has graced 95 1/2 years.  So much for which to be thankful.

Since I am away I will be brief today.  I simply want to share two thoughts.  The first is a phrase I heard years ago as I was researching quotes for Thanksgiving.  It was quite simple:

“Genuine Thanks is giving.”

Isn’t that the truth?!!  How selfish we have become as a society.  Narcissism has become a recurring descriptor for so many of our behaviors.  There are some social scientist who say that our modern communication systems fired by social media is making us an increasingly greater narcissistic society.  How we need to return to the old Biblical understanding of our many blessings.  In Genesis 12:3 God tells Abram that he is going to bless him so he can be a blessing to others.  We receive from God so we can share with others.  We are stewards of God’s many gifts.  Genuine thanks is giving.

The second phrase I love comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  It reads:

Pray without ceasing; rejoince ever more; in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

There are not many places in the Bible that explicitly say, “This is God’s will for you…”  But we have it here.  Notice the passage does not say “for everything give thanks.”  There are many things in our world today for which I am not thankful.  I am not thankful for cancer; I am not thankful for Ferguson; I am not thankful for Ebola; I am not thankful for nuclear threats; I am not thankful for terrorism; I am not thankful for….

This passage does not say “be thankful for bad things” it does say “IN everything give thanks.”  How can we do that?  For me that answer lies in that wonderful verse from Romans 8:28:

In all things God works together for good to those who love him, to those who are called according to his purposes.

It is in the midst of the circumstances of life that God works in our midst when we stay focused on loving God with all we are.  It is because God is at work, even in the worst of circumstances, that I can give thanks.  It is in the midst of bad circumstances that I look for the hand of God because I trust his promise to work even the bad things for his good.  Genuine thanks is giving, giving thanks to God who continues to work in the midst of the circumstances of our lives.

May this day and the days ahead be filled with genuine thanks to God for all he has done and for all he will continue to do in our lives.  Amen