It's a harsh world sometimes. Recent events in the news have made it seem even more so. War is still raging. There have been several public shooting incidents in the past week. The Health care debacle continues. The recession has been declared to be over, but the pain remains.
But praise be to God, there is much for which to be thankful. In this month in which we contemplate those things for which we are thankful, let's forget about the material things for just a bit and concentrate on much higher issues.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:2)
Sandra and I always had our girls write thank you notes whenever they received a gift of any kind. This was good handwriting practice and a good vehicle for us to discuss with them the topic of thankfulness. Those of us who are Christians have much to be thankful for. The verse above mentions two of the more important reasons to be thankful.
The first is Grace. Grace is the “channel” through which salvation flows to undeserving sinners. Only God controls this remote! Ephesians 2:8-9 read this way: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.” Salvation from the consequences of our own sinfulness comes by grace. It’s a gift. It’s unearnable. As a result, we can have Peace.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (Ephesians 2:13-14; 17-18).
Peace, in the Biblical context, means “wholeness,” “completeness.” By the work of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we can have access to the father – for all eternity. We will be made complete by being made one with the Father who is our creator – and who loves us.
Thanksgiving Day has become a ritual for us. Football, turkey, pumpkin cheesecake, family and friends can all be part of the mix. There is nothing wrong with any of that. Enjoy it all (and don’t tell my doctor about the cheesecake). But if you are a Christian, you have special reasons to celebrate, on Thanksgiving Day and every day. You can be thankful for the Grace and Peace extended by Jesus Christ, the savior, who alone has made you righteous.