What are you thankful for? That is a question that we are all going to get a lot this time of year. I pray we are all rolling into the holiday season with thankful hearts. Thankful for family and friends (and delicious food!). Many of us when asked, “What are you thankful for?” are going to reflect on 2018 and all the great things that we saw God do in our lives. For me, I’m thankful for starting up at the DBA. I am thankful for amazing co-workers who love God and love God’s church. I also had a baby this year and I am thankful that he and my wife are healthy and that he continues to grow and develop the personality that God knitted together in the womb. I’m thankful that my family has seen another year of health and prosperity. I could keep going as I reflect back on 2018.

There is a certain part of us that enjoys looking back on how great our year was. If you journal consistently through the year, it is fun to look back through those journals at this time of year and see with great specifics what God has done in your life. If you don’t reflect back on past journals, I would encourage you to do so as it is an exercise in seeing God’s grace and mercy in your life tangibly. As I think back on what I am thankful for, I am reminded of Ephesians 5:20 “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”and I think about how when I talk about the things I am thankful for I mention the big things. My family’s health, the birth of a child, new job, etc. But Paul very specifically says “…for everything…”I would love to be able to see that all I had were great big things happen to me in 2018, but that would not be honest. What are the ‘for everything’ things that I didn’t give thanks for? This is the question that rings for me as I reflect on this verse. That is a harder exercise for us. I try to remember whether or not in those “smaller” times I was thankful or if in those “not good” times, I was thankful. But I can’t remember.

Being thankful is a godly characteristic; it is mentioned over and over in the Bible to be thankful. But, if our goal is to live a life in line with Ephesians 5:20 (and I hope that it would be a goal), then reflecting back on a year of things to be thankful for isn’t enough. In order to live out Ephesians 5:20, we have to live out thankful lives. To live a thankful life means that every day we are thankful for what God is doing. On the good days. On the bad days. On the days we are fighting/arguing with our spouse. On the days our kids are driving us crazy. On the days we excel at work. On the days we fail at work. We should live in a place where when something happens we thank God for it, because we should give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. I acknowledge it is easy to request such a lifestyle but difficult to do. But, I also acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is there to help.

My prayer for anyone who reads this is that you take time to reflect on all that God has done this year and give thanks that this is the start of a new way to look at life. I pray that the Holy Spirit ignites in you a heart of thankfulness. A heart that every day sees what God is doing and is thankful. In the small things and the big things, the good things and the bad things, be thankful, because God is with you and he will never leave you or forsake you.

What are you thankful for?