November is a bleak month. For thirty days nothing much happens. There’s no sudden burst of colors like in October. There’s no anticipation of snow like in December (in fact, we often dread November snow). Thomas Hood, a British humorist once wrote:
No sun – no moon!
No morn – no noon
No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds!
Thanksgiving Without Distractions
This seems to be all the more reason to celebrate Thanksgiving in November. Without the distractions of summer, changes of fall, or Christmas’ busyness, we’re able to focus on what we’re thankful for. It is completely up to us to fill the month with thanksgiving.
I’ve been looking at what the Bible says about thanksgiving. There are times in Scripture we’re commanded to give thanks; recognizing our blessings come from God, and giving him the credit and glory for all we have received. But I’ve also noticed something else. We’re called to be thankful, but we’re also called to bring thanksgiving into the lives of others.
Thanksgiving That Overflows
Twice in 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us thanksgiving is a gift that overflows out of our lives into the lives of others. That thought should make us all the more aware of the good that God has provided and the way it can impact others.
In 2 Corinthians 4:15, Paul writes about the message of Jesus, the forgiveness of our sins, and the promise of eternal life. Then he continues, “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” The hope we have in Christ isn’t something we hoard away. Rather, it should overflow out of our lives into the lives of others; bringing them to a place where they are truly thankful.
Later, in 2 Corinthians 9:11, Paul writes of the way we give of ourselves to others and to God. He says, “Your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”In verse 12 he writes, “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God.”
The Gift of Thanksgiving
In November everyone wants to know what you’re thankful for. Some people will commit to a month of Facebook posts; searching every day for something to be thankful for. It’s a great exercise for us and it definitely can result in a more thankful outlook on life. But maybe the greater question isn’t, “What are we thankful for?” Perhaps the greater question is, “Who will be more thankful this month because of us?”
Need More Thanksgiving?
Check out my sermon series, A Tank Full of Thankful