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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

O’ give thanks!

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“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 136 (NLT) 

As we continue to navigate our “new norm” it can become increasingly difficult to find things to be thankful for. Thanksgiving 2020 is starkly different from any other Thanksgiving in my lifetime, and I would imagine it is different for you as well.  

Families that normally gathered together, sometimes only once per year on Thanksgiving, are asked to avoid gathering out of valid concerns for our safety and the safety of our loved ones and friends. 

COVID-19 has changed our way of life dramatically. Tragically, we have lost over 1.3 million loved ones, friends, co-workers and human beings worldwide to this dreaded disease. In the United States, over 252,000 people have died. And in Indiana, the number of deaths has surpassed 5,143 as of this writing. 

Thankfully, over 35 million have recovered. But this still cannot remove the pain of losing those we love, or the painfully lingering effects of the millions who have been personally affected. 

So, what do we have to be thankful for? The Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 136 that we should “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!” God is good, and God’s faithful love endures forever.  

Enduring Word Commentary notes that Psalm 136 is a special psalm, with each one of its 26 verses repeating the sentence, “His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118 repeated that affirmation five times. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, the phrase has somewhat of a liturgical sense to it, as if the assembled people of Israel said or sung this in response to the direction of the Levites leading singing and worship.  

Ezra 3:11 indicates that this encouragement was part of a responsive singing among God’s people: And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.” 

So, what do we have to be thankful for? Personally, I’m thankful for life, health and strength. I’m thankful for my family and extremely grateful to God that my immediate family has been spared the wrath of the virus. I’m thankful for a sound mind and peace in my spirit. I’m thankful for gainful employment that allows me to support my loved ones.  

I’m thankful for my grandchildren who are growing up healthy, vibrant and strong. I’m thankful for a roof over my head, clothes on my back, shoes on my feet, food on my table.  

Most importantly, I’m thankful that Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and savior. I’m thankful that Christ promised us peace in the pandemic. I’m thankful that scriptures remind us that Christ never leaves us nor forsakes us. I’m thankful that even though tribulation abounds, I can be of good cheer because Christ has overcome the world. 

What are you thankful for? I imagine we share in some of the same thanksgiving praises. I’ve found the key to being thankful is perspective. We can find many things that cause us to be unthankful. But sometimes, we simply need to remind ourselves that the Lord is good, and God’s mercy endures forever. 

O’ give thanks! If this is not your daily affirmation, I encourage you to try it during this season of Thanksgiving. I’m a witness that you will find something to be thankful for. 

Dr. Preston T. Adams III is senior pastor at Amazing Grace Christian Church in Indianapolis. Contact Pastor Adams via email at seniorpastor@agccindy.org or via Twitter @DrPrestonTAdams. For more information, visit agccindy.org.

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