We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. -Colossians 1:3-8
It’s been a difficult year (again) for many of us, hasn’t it? We’ve faced loss, anxiousness, loneliness, uncertainty, sadness, and plenty of heartache for all sorts of reasons. I can relate. But I pray that I would encourage you with this post this thanksgiving by reminding all of us of what Paul echoes to the Church in Colossae and to us in these verses we just read above.
Friend, as we walk through trials, disappointments, confusion, heartache, misinformation, and suffering of various kinds in this world, let us be that peculiar, other-worldly person to those around us who is marked by gospel gratitude as Paul exemplifies in this passage for us. Let us, as Paul will go on to say later in this letter, put on the new self as those who are now a new creation in Christ, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved (Col. 3:12-17). Friend, let us hold fast to the good news of the gospel, for it will anchor us in an everlasting place of gratitude as we navigate living in a broken world. And friend, let us look up, look around, and praise God for all that He is accomplishing as He advances the gospel in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.
Gospel gratitude doesn’t come naturally to us. Trust me, I have to speak the truth to myself to do all things without grumbling or disputing or complaining about as much as I have to remind my own kids to do the same (Philippians 2:14) as much as I don’t like to admit that. Thankfulness and practicing gospel gratitude to our own hearts and to those around us is a daily choice, a habit that takes thoughtful diligence each day. It is daily call that as we dwell on His word, as we sing praises to Him in song, as we teach and admonish one another, in all that we do, despite our circumstances, to find our contentment in the riches of Christ alone. This is the call to God’s chosen ones, His holy and beloved children. I know that’s harder to say than live out, especially when our circumstances really seem bleak and we feel like there’s nothing to be thankful for this year. Maybe you feel that. Maybe you’re overflowing with reasons to be thankful this year. Wherever you’re at this thanksgiving, as Christ followers we all have a call to put on this gospel gratitude. A call to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, and love. May this be true of us today, and every day, friend. In Christ we have every reason we need to give thanks.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
A prayer of thanksgiving to God and for you on this Thanksgiving day.