The true meaning of thanksgiving

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - November 27, 2020 - 12:00am

I was deeply moved by an article I came across over the internet after a couple of friends greeted me a happy thanksgiving. In this article, I learned that, in the Bible, there are four stages of thanksgiving that truly remind us of our purpose here on earth and how much we mean to the One who created us all.

The first stage of thanksgiving taught me that God created us for gratitude. We were born to honor Him by giving Him thanks for who He is and what He continues to do for us. Knowing God goes hand in hand with thanking God as we exist to value Him.

The second stage teaches us that, because we are sinners, we fail God in appreciating Him as He deserves to be appreciated. The story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is a reminder of our lack of appreciation and gratitude as Satan, being the most ungrateful of all, plants deep into the hearts of our first fathers, the desire of wanting more. Adam and Eve passed on to all of us the sin of unthankfulness and this is evident in the times we become dissatisfied with what God gives. The second stage is quite hard to admit for many of us as we tend to miss out on the right balance on both the spiritual and physical aspects that define our sense of gratitude. While we may be abundant in the physical and can truly be thankful, unknowingly, we may be lacking  in the spiritual – the eternal gifts that God has given us which in turn deserve proper thanks.

The third stage speaks of Redemption. Because God so loved the world, He gave us His only begotten Son to enter our thankless world and, by His example, show us His divine appreciation of His Father by dying for us despite our ingratitude. The story of Lazarus, a man Jesus loved so much, teaches us that. Jesus thanked His Father for hearing him thus, raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of the most thankful human being that any of us will ever know. Whether it be about raising the dead or dividing loaves and fishes, Jesus always gave thanks.

Through the Son of God therefore, we reach the fourth stage of thanksgiving which is achieved through faith. For Christians, we understand that, through Christ and because of Christ, we are saved. His gratefulness mirrors to us our lack of gratitude and because of this, we are freed as we accept God’s favor through grace. God’s Grace equips us to understand that though life may be challenging, we must always be grateful in all circumstances.

As I mentioned, I was deeply moved by this article for the simple reason that I have been for some time now practicing daily my early morning ritual of giving thanks first. On the hard days, I have found myself (admittedly so) giving thanks with less “gusto.” However, I still fully understand that being grateful still helps me to pay attention to the little things in life that continue to give me joy. In the long run, I am learning, it is the little things that help you appreciate that God is sufficient and that He always provides. This is something one will find even in the smallest of things and, no matter how small, being truly grateful is still worthy of thanks.

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