Psalm 118:1 – Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
Our good and usual Thanksgiving is that usually we express thanksgiving to God for the things that He has given us, the blessings we have received from Him. And that is good and right for us to do. We should be thankful for the many gracious and generous ways God has been so faithfully good to us.
Today, especially, as we gather with family and friends, we will give thanks to God for the good gift of family, cherished memories of those who have gone to be with the Lord and the joy of new family members. The love and support and memories and trials and struggles of our familial relations are good gifts from God. We are thankful today for loving parents and grand-parents, faithful spouses, the joy of children and grandchildren, the encouragement of solid friendships. We are blessed with much joy in family.
Today, especially, we will give thanks to God for the bounty He has provided. As the old Grinch says of the Whos in Whoville, today we will feast and feast and feast. Tables will be filled, plates will be filled, and stomachs will be filled. The joy of the nourishment and enjoyment of good food is a good gift of God.
Today, especially, we will give thanks to God for the health to enjoy this day of celebration. Even if our health is not what it used to be or what we wish it could be, to be able to celebrate another thanksgiving is a blessing, a good gift of God. Today, we should also give thanks for the abundant blessings of a generally easy going life we enjoy. Our homes, our freedoms, our ability to come and go, our comforts, the minimal costs of our faith. These are good gifts we enjoy that like all the blessings mentioned so far, so much of the world around us have no idea what it means to possess and enjoy these extra blessings. God has indeed been so very good to us.
These are the things that are probably foremost on our minds today. And while it is good for us to give thanks to God for all that He has given to us, today, above all, let us give thanks to God not only for what He has given, but mainly for who He is. God is our chief thanksgiving.
The glorious, life-changing, soul-saving, sin-forgiving, eternal good news of the gospel is not that God gives us things, but that God has given us Himself! The greatest joy is not to be found in the good gift of family. The greatest blessing is not to be found in the good gift of bounty. The greatest treasure is not to be found in the good gifts of freedoms and comforts and health. These are secondary blessings and gifts.
The highest joy, the greatest blessing, the supreme treasure is God Himself! And in Christ, God is our God and we are His people! God Himself is infinitely better than any of His blessings! He alone satisfies the thirsty soul. He alone quietens the anxious heart. He alone eternally saves. The Giver is far more joy than any of His gifts.
As Jonathan Edwards said so well, “God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
God is our chief Thanksgiving. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”