One historical United States tradition is Thanksgiving Day, observed the fourth Thursday in November. There is food to prepare, there are tables to be set, a feast to be shared, family and friends to talk with, and stories to tell.
However, whether or not we actually observe an annual Thanksgiving Day, Christians everywhere are called to be thankful people. Often, our thankfulness overflows—easily seen in our actions and heard in our words. Sometimes, our thankfulness is called for in difficult times when being thankful is the last thing on our minds.
Perhaps you remember a call-and-response in worship or other group setting that has been used, especially when difficult times arise. The leader says, “God is good,” and the people respond, “All the time!” Then the leader says, “All the time,” and the people respond, “God is good!” How comforting it is for us to be reminded of God’s nature by first hearing those words and then responding. But in those difficult times, we may well find God’s healing power—God’s rescue—as we remember and follow the admonition of Paul from his letter to the Thessalonians: “Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:17-18).
What are you thankful for today? What do you want to be thankful for that is not yet on your “giving thanks” list? What could you do to make each day a “thanks-giving” day?
Consider inviting those you celebrate with today to listen to the words of Psalm 100 as words of thanksgiving to God.
God, you have made us in your image. You are our Maker! God, we are your people. Thank you for generously loving and tending us! We sing your praises as we move through this special day and every day. God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good! Amen and Amen!
Advent is a season for turning our minds to the coming arrival of the Christ child. Isaiah looks forward to a future day when peace will reign in Jerusalem. All nations will come to hear the wisdom of the Lord. The psalmist rejoices in going up to Jerusalem in his own day. Jerusalem is a center of peace and a place for righteous judgment among the nations. Both readings inform Jewish expectations of a bright future with the arrival of the Messiah. Paul tells the Romans that part of receiving the reality of the Messiah is self-preparation. We should put aside immoral living and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew looks forward to the future return of the Son of God, which will happen at an unexpected time.
Read Isaiah 2:1-5. How do you look to the Bible’s stories, prayer, and the Holy Spirit to help you work toward God’s reign?
Read Psalm 122. What does it mean for you to pray for peace?
Read Romans 13:11-14. How do you stay awake to salvation’s nearness?
Read Matthew 24:36-44. Who in your life lives as though they expect the Son of Man? What does it look like to be ready to meet Christ?
Respond by posting a prayer.