Thanksgiving Comes from God
Anyone is capable of being thankful. However, Christians are uniquely able to understand the true source of their thankfulness and to give thanks in the fullest way. This is because Christians recognize that God is the true source of all thanksgiving, for it is from the hand of God that we were created and redeemed, and it is from the hand of God that we are today continually preserved and sanctified.
The linguistic history of thankfulness helps us to see that it is God from whom all blessings flow. The word for the noun thanks in Greek, the language used by the writers of the New Testament, is charis. This is the exact same word for the noun grace. We see the connection between thanks and grace better when we use the synonym gratitude or grateful. Likewise, you see a clear connection with grace in the Spanish word for thank-you, which is gracias.
The point is that just as there is a strong connection between thanks and grace in language, so is there a strong connection between thanks and grace in life. While in many cases we say thank-you simply because it is good manners, true thankfulness exists when we acknowledge that we have received something we did not deserve: that is, when we experience grace.
We experience grace in many different ways in life. We experience grace when parents, spouses, and friends love us without expecting anything in return. We experience grace when a neighbor shovels our snow without us knowing. We experience grace when the bank extends the payment deadline of our loan.
When we recognize and appreciate such grace in our lives we experience a change in our disposition. We develop an attitude of grace, otherwise referred to as gratitude or thankfulness. We naturally express our gratitude by way of saying thank-you to the giver of the grace. We may even in our gratitude look to share that grace with others as well.
As Christians, when we in our gratitude seek to give thanks where thanks is due we find ourselves going beyond saying thank-you to only the loving spouse or the kind neighbor. We seek to trace the grace all the way back to its original source. This lands us at the feet of God Himself. It is God who out of His own undeserved love for us created us out of nothing, sent His Son Jesus to redeem us from sin and death as a pure gift, sends His Holy Spirit in His Word to guide us in holiness, and who even gives to us parents, spouses, friends, neighbors and bank lenders and enables them to be gracious to us. Therefore our gratitude is complete only when our thank-you reaches the ears of God, the author and distributor of all grace.
If you are looking to express your gratitude this Thanksgiving make a point to seek out the givers of grace in your life: anyone who has given you undeserved love, forgiveness, or generosity, and tell them thank-you. I will make your search a bit easier by assuring you that God will be at the top of that list! Let God know that you are thankful for His grace. Also, have faith in the power of God’s grace to transform your life into a life of gratitude. Rejoice when you find God’s grace taking form in your life as you show grace to others. If those who receive your grace ask how they might thank you, point them back to God - especially to our Savior Jesus Christ from whose fullness we all receive grace upon grace.