The Give and Take of Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only does it mean that Christmas is right around the corner, but it’s a time for lots of really good food and great time with family and loved ones.

The interesting thing about giving thanks is that it’s a two-way street. When we give thanks, we are in a sense giving our gratitude away to the person or power responsible for what we have received. But the premise of giving thanks for something is that we have received something. You can’t have one without the other.

I think sometimes we can get confused and think of one as being more important than the other. Most of the time we attach more value to the gift than we do to the thanks for the gift. Unless of course we don’t value the gift (imagine some of the gifts you get from your great Aunt Susie at Christmas). In that case we probably think of giving thanks as a gracious act of generosity. But both are equal in their importance and shouldn’t be neglected.

When we’re thankful, it sets our hearts in the position that God intended. Psalm 50:14 says “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and perform your vows to the Most High,” and means in context that God values the thankfulness in our hearts more than our sacrifices of religious service.

So don’t forget that while we’re thankful for the gifts we have received, our thanks are just as valuable to the giver as the gift. There is joy in the giving and receiving of gifts, and in the giving and receiving of thanks. (It applies to God and to Aunt Susie.)

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