It’s that time of year where everyone is talking about being thankful. The season where everyone, believers and non-believers alike, feel prompted to pause and not only take note of their blessings, but be outwardly thankful for them.
However, I think sometimes we focus on our tangible blessings – people and things and necessities – and forget to focus on the Giver of those blessings. Even people who don’t believe in Jesus can feel thankful for what they have, without acknowledging that Someone gave them those blessings, and it is that Someone who we should be thanking.
God calls us to fix our gaze on Him, not necessarily on what He has given us and that is the essence of true gratitude.
I love the Jesus Calling devotional book, and read it every morning. Today’s devotion really struck a chord with my heart as it opened my eyes to what true thankfulness really is.
Nov 22: “A THANKFUL ATTITUDE opens windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity. Moreover, as you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory through those windows. You cannot live in heaven, but you can experience foretastes of your ultimate home. Such samples of heavenly fare revive your hope.
Thankfulness opens you up to these experiences, which then provide further reasons to be grateful. Thus, your path becomes an upward spiral: every increasing in gladness. Thankfulness is not some sort of magic formula: it is the language of Love, which enables you to communicate intimately with Me. A thankful mind-set does not entail a denial of reality with its plethora of problems.
Instead, it rejoices in Me, your Savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations. I am your refuge and strength, an ever-present and well-proved help in trouble.”
Although the entire reading is beautiful, my favorite part of this devotion was the analogy of windows. I have never thought of thankfulness as a window into heaven, giving us glimpses of Gods glory in a new way. Instead, I have always thought of thankfulness as a reactive heart-felt expression to God’s goodness – not a proactive measure of looking into heaven and gaining spiritual clarity that allows us to see further reasons to be grateful.
I also loved the term “upward spiral of gladness” . So often as we consider problems in our lives which worsen or continue, or face new difficult situations present themselves , we feel we are on a downward spiral of despair, with nothing to be thankful for at all. So how uplifting to know that having something as simple as a thankful heart focused on the Giver of blessings, can turn our hearts around completely, and put us on an upward spiral of gladness instead of a downward spiral of discouragement. To know that three little words – thank you Lord – hold the power to change our perspectives, our hearts and our lives.
This brief devotion reminded me that Thanksgiving is a time to be connected to God in a special way by remembering that thankfulness is a life style, not a holiday. And that when we have a truly thankful heart, we are allowed a glimpse of our lives from Gods perspective. A peek through His windows, instead of the windows tainted with the hardships of our life which often block our upward view of His goodness.
I am positive that the view of my life from God’s window is much more beautiful than my own. I want to see thankfulness not as a way to simply express gratitude to God during one season of the year, but as a way to catch glimpses of heaven day in and day out, putting me on “an upward spiral of gladness” all year long. Doesn’t that sound heavenly?!
If you were to change your perspective on thankfulness today and commit to making it a lifestyle instead of a season, how might the view from your window change?