Advent Anticipation & Preparation:  The Practice of Thanksgiving

Zacharias’ first words when his tongue is set free are these:

“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people.”  (Luke 1:68; NKJ)

If I were Zacharias, my first words would have probably been, “Man it is good to be able to talk again!  Let me tell you all what happened!”  Or perhaps, “Do you know how hard it is to order at McDonalds when you can’t speak!”

Much better than my imagined responses, Zacharias’ first words were of thanksgiving to God for his great redemptive acts!

Maybe we know better than to think of thanksgiving as simply a prayer before meals, or the holiday that bears the name. However, when we talk about Thanksgiving, many of us are guilty of only expressing gratitude in moments when life is going well, when things are looking up! We’re thankful for a pay raise, good weather, a bill of clean health from the doc.

Devoted Christians through the ages have understood thanksgiving to be more than just gratitude when things are going well, but a spiritual practice to be lived out in all of life’s circumstances.  They take Paul’s injunction to “give thanks always for all things” seriously.  At the very least, it is taken to mean that thanksgiving is a daily practice of reflection and giving thanks to God.  Furthermore, thanksgiving is a posture of praise before the Lord even when things are not going well in our life.

In this season of advent, how can you respond in thanksgiving to God? No matter our circumstances, we can thank God for his great redemptive work accomplished through his Son.  That is something to be thankful for every moment!

Blessings in Christ!

Tim

About this Devotional Series

Advent has a twofold purpose.  Advent is the season of preparation for the celebration of God’s coming in incarnate humility at Christ’s birth.  It is also the season of anticipation of Christ soon returning in glory!  Each weekday we look at one way we can prepare ourselves to experience Christ’s presence in our lives more fully.  These preparations are more commonly known as Spiritual Disciplines.  Spiritual Disciplines are practices that make room in our lives for the Holy Spirit to produce growth in our lives.  Some of these may resonate with you, others may not.  But there are rich spiritual rewards from exercising these disciplines that will greatly enrich our celebration of Christmas and indeed our whole lives!  My prayer is that you will find blessing and inspiration in these words during this season.

Published by Tim O

I chose the Greek form of my name as the title for the blog. It means “honoring God”. That is the goal of my life and of my writing. I hope it also encourages you along the way. Thanks for joining me!

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