Although Thanksgiving Day is not specifically a Christian holiday, it is in my mind one of the most obviously Christian observations on the calendar.  Where other holidays remember a specific event, Thanksgiving is set aside for the purpose of, well, giving thanks.

And of course that is what makes the difference.  One might be inclined to say thanks to the cashier at Publix for giving you a turkey, but you’re giving her $20 in the exchange.  You’re saying thanks for what is essentially a trade off.  Or perhaps you’re saying thanks because the cashier was not surly.

Have you given thought about the things you are thankful for this year?  Maybe you’re thankful that you have a job.  Your family.  Your house & possessions.  I’m not so unspiritual as to say I’m thankful for Clemson’s 8-3 season, but I am happy about it.

A lot of folks would point out that they are thankful for Jesus & His work on the cross.  I wouldn’t disagree, but may I point out something even more wonderful?

In Hebrews 11 we read that “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  So, if you want to please God, you must have faith.

But this presents a bit of a problem.  Speaking of our spiritual condition before conversion, we are said to be dead in our sins (Eph 2:1).  Can a dead person have faith?  Of course not.  A dead person is spiritually dead and cannot have the faith necessary to please God.  But the nice part is, if you read on a little further you see how a dead person gets faith.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  (Eph 2:8-9)

So here you have the full story.  Your salvation depends on you having faith, but you’re dead and unable to develop faith on your own.  So, in order for you to have faith, God has to give it to you as a gift.

This brings me back to Thanksgiving.  If you’re thankful to Jesus for being your savior, just keep in mind that you can only have that faith if God gives it to you as a gift.  Be thankful that He chose you, before the foundation of the world, to be His possession.

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