Giving Thanks

Trudy Maassen Vander Haar

READ : 1 Thessalonians 5:16-28

It was time for us to get out our Christmas letter and we were thinking of friends who, for the second time, had lost a daughter in an accident. Each Christmas our friends had written joyful, uplifting letters about the year just past, rejoicing in a loving family. In our grieving for them, we wondered what they would do that year. With such heavy hearts, how could they possibly write about that year’s experiences? Eventually the letter came a wonderful letter!

They wrote about their “bittersweet” year and the “bittersweet” Christmas that they anticipated, more conscious than ever that Advent and Christmas are bittersweet as we celebrate Christ’s birth and remember also His suffering and death. They quoted something they had read, “Life is not fair, but God is good.” Then they proceeded to list, in detail, twelve things that they were thankful for in that situation.

Paul wrote in his Thessalonian letter that we should give thanks, not for, but in all circumstances. Is this easy? Definitely not! For each of us gratitude has to start with a firm belief that God is good. It is belief that shapes our attitudes and attitude shapes our actions. In many of life’s situations actions can dictate our feelings instead of vice versa. Just as by showing love we become more loving, so by expressing our gratitude we become more grateful.


Lord, help us to show gratitude even when life challenges our feelings of gratitude. In Jesus’ name. Amen.