I presume you are spending some time over the next several hours thinking about gratitude and giving thanks. Gratitude is an impulse we should seek to develop and cultivate. But it’s just an impulse until we act on it. It’s not thanksgiving until you actually give thanks to someone for something. And that’s what we’re called too. Clearly.
“In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
I’ll note here that the Bible doesn’t tell us to give thanks FOR everything. It tells us to give thanks IN everything. That’s an important distinction and I’ll leave it there for you to consider.
There is no shortage of scripture that calls us to thanksgiving. In a quick tour through the book of Psalms alone we are told to offer thanksgiving to God as a sacrifice, to enter His courts with thanksgiving, to sing and magnify Him with thanksgiving. The two words “give thanks” appear more than three dozen times in Psalms. It’s a major theme.
You can meditate and reflect on whichever passage you’d like as you celebrate the holiday, hopefully in the presence of family and friends. Or if you’d like to hitchhike on the passage I’m meditating on today, feel free.
Psalm 33 calls us to give thanks to God
 Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
The Psalmist goes on to list reasons why we should give thanks to God and sing a new song to Him. The list is not exhaustive, but it is instructive. It includes four bullet points that are worth taking time to consider.
 For the word of the LORD is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
 He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
Why give thanks to God, today or any day?
First, because we have His word. And it is upright. It’s true. It’s sure. It can be trusted. The longest hymn in the Psalter is a 176 verses of praise to God for the greatness of His word. One reason we should be thankful to God is for the gift He has given us in His revelation of Himself to us through His word.
Psalm 33 also says we should give thanks to God because His work is done in faithfulness. God is trustworthy, reliable, dependable. He is faithful. His promises to us are yes and amen. As the writer of Lamentations reminds us “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23). Knowing that God is faithful and can be counted on is a reason for thanksgiving.
Third, Psalm 33 tells us that we can give thanks to God because He loves righteousness and justice. Imagine living in a world governed by someone who was unconcerned about either righteousness or justice. We’ve seen enough dystopian movies over the last few decades that we don’t have to imagine what our world would be like if the omnipotent God who rules over the affairs of men was unconcerned about either righteousness or justice. The fact that God loves both is a reason for being thankful.
And finally, Psalm 33 tells us that we should be thankful and give praise to God because the earth is full of His hessed – His steadfast love. Think about that. God’s sure and steadfast love is poured every day into the hearts and lives of rebels and scoundrels like you and me. We are faithless. He remains faithful. But not just faithful. His stubborn love never lets go of us.
The Psalm continues, reflecting on God’s power in creating and superintending all that exists, providing additional impetus for thanksgiving. But I’ll let you reflect on the rest of the Psalm for yourself.
As you think today about giving thanks, remember to thank and praise God for His word, His faithfulness, His righteousness and justice and His steadfast love.
And have a blessed Thanksgiving. I am thankful for each of you and for the work God is doing in our midst at Redeemer.
MEN’S BREAKFAST & CHRISTMAS CANVASSING
Thanks to all the men who attended the men’s breakfast last week, and especially to Brian Yeary and Tim Friesen for sharing with us.
And thanks to all the men who signed up to help us share the good news of Christmas with those who live near our church. For those of you who weren’t able to be at the breakfast, here’s what we shared with the guys who were there.
We want to give a gift to our neighbors and to invite them to attend our Christmas Eve service. There are two ways you can join with us.
On December 10, we’ll be hanging gift bags on the front doors of neighborhood homes. The bags will contain a copy of my new book The Four Emotions of Christmas, a Christmas card from our church and a printed invitation to the Christmas Eve worship service. We’re asking men to sign up to distribute gift bags to about 20 neighborhood homes and to pray for each home as you drop off the bag. We’ll provide you with addresses. It should take no more than an hour of your time to pick up the bags from the church and make deliveries.
We plan to launch our outreach walks at 10:00 a.m. on December 10 from the church. If you prefer to make your assigned deliveries at a different time, the gift bags and home addresses will be made available for you.
In addition, you can help by making a donation to help cover the $1,000 cost for these Christmas outreach gifts to our neighborhood families. When you make a donation, either online or by writing a check, please note that your gift is for the Christmas outreach.
If you are able and interested in being a part of this outreach, please let Don Parish know (firstname.lastname@example.org). You will receive a confirmation email within the week with more details.
Thanks guys! And feel free to include your family as part of this project as you see fit.
christmas in the dominican republic
While we’re talking about Christmas, if you signed up to provide a gift and a Bible for a student at Arbor Christian Academy in the Dominican Republic this year, don’t forget to bring your Christmas card to church on Sunday or get it to Matt Gurney this week. And don’t forget to go online or drop of a check for $40 per student. Please note the DR Outreach in the memo line.
CAROLS & CANDLELIGHT ~ CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
|Have you been praying about friends or family members you want to give a plate of cookies, a copy of the Four Emotions book and an invitation to our Christmas Eve Carols & Candlelight service to? Pick up copies of the book at church this Sunday ($2 each) and start baking!|
special december events
|We have a few special events planned in December. In addition to the Christmas Eve service, there’s a special gathering planned for the women on Saturday, December 10.|
|The following weekend, we have two back to back nights planned. First, a family pajama party for parents and kids!|
|And the next night, it’s a Redeemer tradition for the students who are part of the Roots Student Ministry.|
FIRST TUESDAY MEN’S GATHERING!
|Men, don’t forget that Tuesday night, December 6th, former NFL quarterback Jeff Kemp will be joining us live and in person to talk about why it’s so vital for men like us to have a huddle. Circle the date on your calendar now!|
FIRST FRIDAY GAME NIGHT!
|In the book of Hebrews, we’re warned about the danger that comes from being hard hearted toward God and His ways. What exactly is hard heartedness? And why is it so dangerous? We’ll take a break from our study in John’s gospel this Sunday to consider why it’s vital for us to have a soft heart when it comes to God and His word.|
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!