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Truly Thankful

In Christ we can be truly thankful.

Dr. Charles R. Swindoll writes...

I have a love affair going with Thanksgiving. It’s been going on for decades, as far back as I can remember. Hands down, it’s my favorite holiday, because it’s the one time of year we pause to count our blessings.

Thanksgiving seems to blend together all we Americans hold precious and dear—without the sham and plastic mask of commercialism. Shopping centers jump from Halloween to Christmas. It is spooks to Santa, pumpkins to presents, orange and black to red and green. It’s doubtful that any of us has ever seen (or will ever see) a Pilgrim hype. Just can’t be done. Except for grocery stores, merchants are mute when Thanksgiving rolls around.

Thanksgiving highlights home and family. It is synonymous with stuff that can be found only at home—the warmth of a fireplace, early morning fussing around in the kitchen, kids and grand-kids, long distance phone calls, family reunions, singing around the piano, holding hands and praying before that special meal, the Cowboys versus somebody on the tube, a touch football game in the street or backyard, friends dropping by, pumpkin pie, homemade rolls, and six million calories.

Thanksgiving drips with national nostalgia. For me, even more so than the Fourth of July. That holiday reminds us of a war we won, giving us independence. This one takes us back to a simple slice of life over 370 years ago when our forefathers and mothers realized their dependence on each other to survive. With Thanksgiving comes a surge of renewed patriotism, a quiet inner peace that whispers, "I am proud to be an American."

Thanksgiving turns our heads upward. Just the word "Thanksgiving" prompts the spirit of humility. Genuine gratitude to God for His mercy, His abundance, His protection, His smile of favor, and His Gospel—the good news that Jesus Christ saves sinners.

You see, without Jesus, we are in trouble.

The Bible says that apart from God we have no righteousness of our own. We are ungodly by choice, by birth and by nature. We are unrighteous because we reject the will of God. In order for us to embrace the righteousness of God, we must first admit the true condition of our sinful lives. If we die without Jesus Christ, we’re going to hell. It’s as simple as that. We’re doomed forever. There is no second chance, that is our eternity.

But the most marvelous, blessed message is that we need not die like that. We can be saved from that awful fate—when we embrace the truth of the Gospel. What is the Gospel? God welcomes sinners. God loves the sinner. Christ died for the sinner. He was raised for the sinner. He welcomes those who come to Him by faith.

In Jesus Christ you can know love and forgiveness in heaven. Won’t you come to know Him today? I plead with you not to put off coming to know Christ any longer. You can come to know Christ forever, right now. Receive Jesus Christ personally, admitting you’re a sinner, claiming His grace. You will have His life, and for all eternity, you can be truly thankful!

Taken from the book, "Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life", by Charles R. Swindoll. Zondervan Publishing House, a Division of Harpercollins Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, © 1983, used by permission.


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