Thanksgiving is a great holiday. I enjoy all of the great food and time with family and friends. At its core, this celebratory time with people was originally intended to give thanks to God for blessing with a great harvest of food.
But, only giving thanks to God once a year isn’t exactly what we should be doing if we have committed to following Christ. What’s more, is that during this holiday time, people seem to get more stressed out and on-edge than throughout the rest of the year. It’s strange, because giving thanks to God is supposed to result in peace.
It’s why Christmas follows thanksgiving: As the timeless Christmas song declares, “Peace on Earth and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled.” (Actually, I’m making that up – the bit about Christmas following Thanksgiving – But it sounds good doesn’t it?)
Well, giving thanks to God does result in knowing peace. So, let’s re-focus on this idea of peace:
Are you searching for peace? What is peace? Is peace simply a tranquillity? Or is peace an absence of war, disagreement, and violence between people or nations? Dictonary.com defines peace in one way as “freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquillity; serenity.” Generally, when we use the word peace, the idea of serenity is the most common use of the word.
In its essence, true peace is a harmony between mankind, the created order of nature, and God Himself. Peace is not an absence of action or interaction between people, but more like a well-oiled machine firing on all cylinders. Peace is when everything is working together properly as it was intended, or created, to do so.
So peace is when our minds are healthy and working correctly. Peace is when we are interacting with our neighbors and other people in a way that honors God. Peace is when we are in a state of complete well-being. Peace is when we are in right relationship with the God of the Universe.
Think about serenity. For most, serene places are found in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. However, in nature, things are moving about, sometimes frantically, and other times, quite slowly. A beautiful waterfall is actually a thunderous and violent tossing of water over the edge of a cliff. A nice and peaceful rain shower is actually a red alert for the little ants which need to frantically scurry back into their little homes before they are washed away. Nature is full of crazy interaction, but, it all works together, which creates the peaceful atmosphere we sometimes so desire.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
The apostle Paul understood the concept of peace, along with how to find true peace. He gives us a blueprint, a map, instructions if you will, to find peace.
- Don’t Worry – How? Prayer and trust in God makes it possible to stop worrying.
- Give Thanks – Why? Thankfulness expresses our reliance upon God.
- Experience Peace – When? After we stop worrying and start thanking.
Paul explains we need to refocus our attention from worry to God Himself. This refocus results in prayer and thanksgiving. Flowing from thanksgiving comes the peace which no one can quite understand. Our hearts and minds are protected as we continue to think on and thank God. It is God’s presence, a perfection and completion only made available through Him.
Paul continues to say:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
You see, we are to choose our thoughts. When we ch0ose our thoughts, refocus our mind, place our attention and mental capacities on God, and keep practicing these things, God’s peace will be with us. So peace, results from thanksgiving. Peace arrives through giving thanks to God.
Instead of celebrating the holiday of thanksgiving, cultivate the habit of thanksgiving. You’ll then begin to experience God’s peace.
May you have a happy thanksgiving holiday, and may the God of peace strengthen you as you begin to cultivate a habit of thanksgiving in your life.