We might be tempted to make our focus too narrow today. If we limit our gratitude to whatever’s on the table before us, in terms of food or circumstances, we’ll settle for a lesser experience than this day offers. But if spend Thanksgiving looking through the wider lens that God gives us, we’ll remember to spend our lives living gratefully.
Today’s psalm comes from an ancient song of thanksgiving used during the Feast of Tabernacles and the Passover Seder. It includes the song of Moses in Exodus 15:2: “The LORD is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him.” Martin Luther reportedly called this psalm his favorite, saying “This is the psalm that I love…for it has often served me well and has helped me out of grave trouble, when neither emperors, kings, wise men, clever men, nor saints could have helped me.”
The psalmist repeatedly prompts us to give thanks to God by saying, “His steadfast love endures forever” (vv. 1, 2, 3, 4). Then we hear a story of deliverance, as God answers a cry for help. This encounter with God’s unchanging love brings thanksgiving. Telling this story becomes an expression of gratitude.
Our culture sets aside this day of the year as a day to give thanks. As we observe it, we should remember the history of our faith as well as our own lives. Remembering the steadfast love of God, both in God’s work in the history of our community and in our lives personally, brings thanksgiving. In the midst of our gratitude, remember that we are called to be part of God’s continuing story of love and deliverance, so that others will also experience reasons to give thanks.
When have you been hard pressed and surrounded by difficulties, then felt the deliverance of God? Remember those stories today as you name why you are grateful.
God of deliverance, we thank you for your steadfast love. Help us to always remember that you love us and help us to love others in the same way. Amen.