The season is coming, where we all take a break from school and work and busy life to gather together and celebrate Thanksgiving. Part of me hates this time of year because I hate getting so emotional and becoming hardly able to express myself because of how deeply thankful I am for God. The rest of me loves this time of year, not only because we have the opportunity to pause and evaluate our hearts before the Lord, but also because we are forced to share it with others. To encourage one another through our trials and temptations, which we ought to be doing always. “Always giving thanks, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in our hearts to the God.” (Philippians 4, Colossians 3, 1 Thessalonians 5)
So where does this lead me…
This thanksgiving leads me to a place I dare say I have rarely been before, even as a Christian. It leads me to a place of realizing I am not a thankful person. Of realizing I daily take for granted my God, my salvation, my freedom, my friendships, my blessings, my gifts…and the list is endless. This thanksgiving takes me to a place of seeing that more often than not my heart is in a place of condemning and cursing the very God that saved it. I find myself criticizing his plans, as if I could plan better. I find myself forgetting his promises and his character, as if my abilities are sufficient enough.
This thanksgiving leads me to a place where for the first time in my life I find myself:
These words, these failures, these sins are not what are important. They themselves, now, are empty and non-existent. But the place they bring my heart, that is crucial. To a place of being on my knees. To a place of humility, which allows my heart, eyes, and ears to understand, see, and hear the truth of this thing called the Gospel. It is good news for me, really good news. Because without it, the wages of sin is death. Without it I live a dead and lost life here on earth. Without it I live death for eternity. When I don’t see my brokenness, I don’t see his beauty. When I don’t see my darkness, I don’t see his light. These words, these failures, these sins lead me to a place of laying flat before the glory of my God, realizing I am absolutely nothing apart from grace, apart from Him.
“…he took it away, nailing it to the cross!” Colossians 2:14
PRAISE be to his name, that this is how he sees me. That this is what comes to his mind when all these words are uttered, his blood, his tender mercies and constant grace has COVERED ME. It was, it is, and it will eternally be ENOUGH. And although there are many days when I see, when I utter those words again to myself in doubt and fear that they are still ever-present, it leads me again to his grace, to his mercies.
How can this God love me? How could he do this for me?
I'll never know how much it cost. To see my sin upon that cross. I'll never know how much it cost. But here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that this IS MY GOD. This is all I want to care about this Thanksgiving. Without it, I am nothing, I have nothing. Until my roots go deep, deep down into Christ, into his life, death, and resurrection, I will never know what it means to be thankful. This thanksgiving, I am entrusting myself to let him grow these roots deeper, deeper through the walls of pride, under the blanket of shame, beyond the image of perfection...into the depths of my brokenness, neediness, loneliness, imperfection, so he can bring me out, with thanksgiving in my heart.