Every Thanksgiving, I put the FULL in thankful.
You see, in addition to the typical American holiday tradition of overeating, I also tack on a heaping portion of gluten-intolerance symptoms. Whenever I eat gluten, I get what I describe as the “after Thanksgiving” feeling. Unpleasant but tolerable, at least occasionally. But add that post-gluten “after Thanksgiving” feeling to the actual “after Thanksgiving” feeling and, well, you get a very unfortunate—and uncomfortable—feeling. Uggghhhhh.
So now at 2:53 p.m. on Thursday November 24th, I am currently experiencing that annual unpleasant combination. And in my present post-Thanksgiving-dinner, semi-comatose state, I thought to myself, “Self, why don’t you take this time to write a blog?” And so, as I become one with the couch and find myself encountering gravity in a new and entirely unenjoyable way, I am writing to you.
Ugghhh, I’m full.
(Sorry, I’m afraid there will be more random outbursts of gastrointestinal discomfort. Er, I mean that I’ll be telling you that my stomach hurts. Hopefully, there will be no literal outbursts from my abdominal region.)
Anyway, enough about my bowels. Happy Thanksgiving! A day for being thankful. But what does it actually mean to be “thankful?” Well, that should be easy. “Thankful” means “being full of thanks.” Just like “beautiful” means full of beauty and “turkeyful” means “full of turkey.” Wait, that’s not actually a word. Oops . I guess now it is. Just call me Shakespeare. Or at least “Shakespeare-ful.”
Okay, back to thankfulness. That’s what this blog is about. Or is supposed to be about. So what does it really mean to be thankful or “full of thanks”?
Recently, I was perusing the Bible in an attempt to answer that very question. Here is a bite-size sample (I’m too full for the entree version). In Colossians, Paul tells his readers this, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Whoa. (That’s not in response to my stomach, by the way.)
God wants us to be so full of thankfulness that it flows out of us. Now, I’ve seen plenty of overflowing things before, but these are usually not positive circumstances. Like the time (er, multiple times) I boiled water for a wee bit too long while making mac and cheese (prior to my gluten intolerance). Or when a friend accidently used dish soap instead of dishwasher soap. And then let’s not mention the many toilets at camp this summer. But thankfulness? What does it mean to overflow with thankfulness?
Then I found Luke 6:45, when Jesus says, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart […] For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” If Jesus is telling the truth (which He always does since He is the Truth), then whatever is in our hearts will flow out of us. And according to the sample nugget from Colossians, thankfulness should be one of these cardiac exports.
Okay, so I’m supposed to be thankful, and from deep down in my heart. But how?
After searching high and low, looking near and far, and consuming a heck of a lot of turkey, I came too this simple, yet understated conclusion: Give thanks.
I know what you’re thinking. “No duh, Steffi. I salute you, Captain Obvious.” So before you start shaking your colorful turkey tailfeathers at me, hear me out. Give thanks…
That’s right. God is the key to this spring of thankfulness. If we want to have thankful hearts, then we need to go to the Source—and thank Him. It’s not enough to simply “be thankful” in general. We need to give our thanks to God, for all He has done for us and for Who He is. And not just every third Thursday in November, but every single day of our lives.
Although each of us comes from different backgrounds and our situations vary, we each have so much for which to thank God. You see, regardless of our circumstances—of our material blessings or bank account, of our relationships or lack thereof, our mood or mental state—we’ve been given the most incredible and valuable gift of all: Jesus.
Jesus, the one and only Son of God, came down from heaven, lived a sinless life, and died the most excruciating death invented. Willingly. Because He loves you. Yes, you. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for your sins. He took the punishment you deserved. With His outstretched arms, He bridged forever the gap that separated you from your Heavenly Father. If you have Jesus as your Savior, then every day you have a reason for joy. Every day, you have the best reason ever to be thankful. So give thanks to the only One worthy of it.
And if you don’t yet know Jesus, if you haven’t yet asked Him to be your Savior, then I urge you now. Don’t wait another moment. He’ll fill you to overflowing, not just with thankfulness, but with His love, joy, peace, and so much more. Just ask Him.
Well, good news. I think my stomach has digested slightly. Which means I’m about to be thankful for (and full of) some pumpkin pie. Happy Thanksgiving! And God bless. 🙂