I was on time to share the traditional American turkey with my Dad and sisters on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, November 26 at Portland, Oregon. It was my first time ever and I really didn’t know what to expect. Since I was travelling from Houston through San Francisco to Portland, all I could see was the crowd of people flying to different destinations. I was told, to join their families for thanksgiving. At one point, I mused that I did not see or hear anyone thanking God for anything, except that everyone was on holiday. But that evening, as we all stood around the thanksgiving meal and I was handed the privilege of saying the thanksgiving prayers (I was told that was replicated in every home in America that night!) I could see how glorious it is for a nation to dedicate one day to thank God for all His blessings.
In Nigeria, we do not have a national day of thanksgiving. But we, nonetheless, have an abiding tradition of setting aside one Sunday every year to give thanks to God in our different churches. Turkey, chicken, goat or any other animal does not take central stage. Everyone comes with a testimony, a song, a dance and a thanksgiving offering to God for His goodness. It’s a tradition I look forward to every year. And it’s a good tradition you must imbibe. No matter who you are and what you are going through, you’ve got plenty reasons to thank God. As Apostle Paul admonishes, in all things give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.
WE ARE STILL HERE
Because human memory is short, many may not remember that at the beginning of this year, Nigeria appeared to be heading to the precipice. There was palpable tension in the land. The predictions were ominous and merchants of evil were running riot all over the country. Not many thought that Nigeria would survive but we did. We are still here, one nation, one people. Peace is, indeed, a priceless thing and many nations have found it very elusive. Happily, when it seemed that we had all lost our heads, God came to our rescue. That’s something to be thankful for, don’t you agree?
YOU ARE ALIVE
Life is a precious gift from God and you should be grateful for that. You went to bed last night and woke up this morning without having to do anything special. Maybe you can cross check from a good hospital how much it would take to put you on oxygen or sustain your breath on life support machine for one month. After that, you will swallow your complaints and give God a thanksgiving dance. In case you don’t know, you are not alive because you are in the best state of health or that you are careful enough (everytime you sit in a taxi or in an aircraft, you have lost control!). Even your feeble attempt to watch over your life is nothing compared to the overwhelming dangers that abound everywhere. It’s God’s mercies that kept you alive. Be thankful!
HE’S DONE MARVELOUS THINGS
This year has been a celebration year for me, my family and our church. The most outstanding was the birth of our twins, Awesome and Gladsome, after over twenty years of waiting. That testimony has spiraled out of our control – those we don’t know are sharing it all over the world! Then our silver wedding anniversary and twenty years in ministry. Those are the ones you know. There are certainly many more you don’t know. Of a truth, God has been good to me. I have been wondering how I will dance on Thanksgiving day to express all my gratitude!
God has also been good to you too. You know where you were at the beginning of the year and where you are now. Everyone thinks you achieved so much because you are smart but you know it’s God. Let them know too. Return the glory to Him!
I STILL HAVE JOY
I know that some people feel they have nothing to thank God for. Their hopes were dashed and their expectations were not met. For some, the year has been one week one trouble; others think that they are ending the year worse than they began and are already licking their wounds. But isn’t it great that those challenges and troubles did not kill you? So thank God for the challenges you overcame. Looking back, I can say like the songwriter, after all I’ve been through, I still have joy. And you know what? All things, including those ugly blotches on my beautiful canvass, will work together for my good at the end of it all. I’m excited about that.
LIFE GOES ON
I have made up my mind that I will end this year on a high note, a celebration note while setting my eyes on the glorious future ahead of me. Beloved, there is more in the future than in the past. Your past and your present may be despicable, but the future beckons on you with grandeur. Snap out of your regrets. Don’t be a prisoner to your failure. The year is ending but life goes on. Step into 2016 with joy and receive the future you desire.
See you in Sure Word Assembly this Sunday.
Article written by Dr. Dennis Inyang (firstname.lastname@example.org)