Jesus Makes Thanksgiving Possible

Thanksgiving Day is fast approaching which is crazy because it feels like 2022 just started and the last few years have been a big blur. But, nevertheless, here we are. The day set aside each year to give thanks, eat good food, and see all the awkward family members that you manage to avoid the rest of the year.

With everything going on in the world, I started to think about the idea of giving thanks. In a time when it’s getting more difficult to maintain a heart of thankfulness, why do we make such a big deal about giving thanks on this singular day? This brought me to 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

But wait… What if my circumstances aren’t great? What if I lost my job? What if I don’t have a family to be with? What if I just lost someone that I love? How do we give thanks when life is hard?

Jesus makes Thanksgiving possible.

Let’s look at the thanksgiving being displayed by Jesus in the upper room in Luke 22:19:

“He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'”

First, we have to dive into a quick Greek lesson:

  • The word “thanks” here is translated as eucharisteo.

  • The root of this word is charis (eucharisteo) meaning “grace”

  • Which also holds its derivative chara (eucharisteo) meaning “joy”

Maybe you’re thinking, why does this matter? Well, look at Jesus’ prayer again.

Jesus gave thanks, fully knowing what was to come. He thanked the Father for the bread that represented His own body that was about to be broken and brutalized for sinners. Jesus gave thanks despite His circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Jesus expressed His thanksgiving or eucharisteo to the Father for the grace and glory that was to come because of the cross which caused Him to have joy amidst His horrific circumstances.

Joy makes Thanksgiving possible.

Jesus was able to have eucharisteo in every circumstance because He knew there was a future grace to come. His hope was not found in His surroundings, rather, it was rooted in the knowledge that God had a bigger, better plan.

We have a future grace and it’s because of Jesus that we can stand in joy and thanksgiving regardless of the circumstances. Hebrews 12:2 encourages us in this way:

“… keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”

Jesus had His sight fixed on the joy set before Him. Because of that, He was able to endure the cross. Notice, Jesus wasn’t focused on the cross, He wasn’t focused on the circumstances or what was happening around Him. Instead, He was fixed on the future grace to be revealed.

The same applies to us. If we focus on our difficult situation, we won’t be able to endure it. If our eyes are fixed on Jesus, however, we can give thanks knowing that Jesus and His saving grace are our ultimate joy.

Jesus makes joy possible.

With this joy, you can have the ability to endure hard things. Take a look through Scripture and you’ll be continually reminded of the promises that far outweigh whatever you’re going through.

Because Jesus endured the cross, rose again, and defeated death, you can experience the true joy of being reconciled to God forever with all the promises that accompany this new status.

This doesn’t mean you won’t face trouble, because you will. Money will be tight, relationships will be damaged, and life will sometimes just be hard. But every hardship is a reminder to look to Jesus and to live a life of eucharisteo.

With that in mind, let every day be a celebration of thanksgiving. Give thanks this year because of the eternal joy found in Christ.

30 Verses on Thankfulness
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