(16) Rejoice always, (17) pray without ceasing, (18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

These seem impossible. I won't speak to our ability to literally carry out the Apostle's advice in verses 16 and 17. But today we might consider verse 18. Note that Paul does not say "give thanks for everything" - thank God! It would be spiritually destructive to bless evil or rejoice in injury.

But he does suggest that in any circumstance - illness, prison cell, poverty, persecution, grief - we can be attentive to those things which are also true, also real, and worthy of praise. Even in the midst of grave distress, a thankful heart is God's will for us. It is at least a partial remedy for our suffering. And it points us to the hope of redemption, seen in the grace which is continually at work in our lives.

This day, which in the U.S. is nominally a national day of thanksgiving, may we remember all for which thanks is due. For the cessation of attacks in Israel and Gaza - even a temporary peace is cause for thanks. For the many who turn to serve others. For food which answers our hunger. For companionship. For the breath of life. For the gifts of faith and the hope of healing.

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

A blessed and happy Thanksgiving to you.


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