Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Praise the Giver
When I was growing up, I loved Thanksgiving. We’d get together for a family meal with all the fixings…turkey, potatoes, cranberry salad, yeast rolls, pumpkin pie and about 15 other dishes (give or take a few). Then, came the most coveted persimmon pudding, my mom’s signature recipe. A favorite for each of us four siblings.
One year I remember it was unseasonably warm in Indiana, so we were enjoying our dessert outside. All of a sudden I felt something crawling up my dress. I felt “it” crawling up my chest. Out of impulse, I took the paper plate full of food that was in my hand, brought it to my chest and…I squashed the spider, but I squashed my persimmon pudding too! That stuff’s so good I ate it anyway!! :)
Like I said, I loved Thanksgiving as a young girl. Still, there were years when I was in my early twenties that I didn’t appreciate the holiday much. Although I liked getting together with family and stuffing my face (hee hee), my heart wasn’t very set on the significance of the holiday. It just seemed like a good day to indulge on food…even more than we normally did.
Several Thanksgiving Days went by without much affect on me. I kept a gratitude journal throughout the year (a wonderful gift from a friend) and I had heard Oprah (ugh!) talk about the importance of being a grateful person…how greatly it would affect my attitude and that of those around me. I was trying too “stay positive”. Still, something was missing.
Who was I thanking? Where was all that gratitude going? A person can be thankful ‘til they’re blue in the face and still be empty, sad and searching for the meaning of it all. I know because that’s where I was!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
Every good gift is from God! He is constant and doesn’t change. I’ve heard people say…and I’ve even said it myself, “The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes.” BUT, it’s not true…one thing doesn’t change, God doesn’t change. He’s the only thing that is constant, certain and unchanging in this life. What a great reason to praise Him!
My pastor shared a quote with us a few weeks ago, “Praise the Giver, not the gift.” I’m glad so many are thankful. It’s nice that so many are expressing gratitude for all they have in this life. Yet, I’m often left wondering Who are they thanking? Where is that gratitude going? Do they recognize the Giver, and not just the gifts?
I give you thank, O LORD, with all my heart. I will sing praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. Psalm 138:1-3
Even when things aren’t going so well (yep, had a few of those years too…and we all have our problems in life), do we recognize the Giver of unfailing love and faithfulness? There is always something to praise Him for! He will never leave you, nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). He will always love you unfailingly and will be faithful, no matter what! His promises prove true and are backed by the honor of His name.
Henry Blackaby wrote, “Regardless of how bleak your present circumstances are, do not lose hope. No one has ever experienced unfaithfulness of God’s part! Allow time for God to reveal His faithfulness to you. Someday you will reflect on what God has done and praise Him for His absolute faithfulness to you.” Amen!
This Thanksgiving I'm going to praise the Giver!! How about you?! Let's praise Him...not just for what He’s given to us, but for Who He is…a faithful, loving Father who’s promises hold true. The best way to truly “stay positive” is to look to the Giver of hope! Then, we can praise the Giver for the gifts He has given too! All of us have things to be thankful for, if only we are aware.
Oh, and if you ask me, if we would take more time for some “thanks-giving” (and not try to skip over it), Christmas would probably be a lot better celebration for more of us too. :)