What’s he thankful for? His missing baby chiclets? His new fly hair style? His swaggerific parents in the background? That scrumdiddlyumptious roast turkey ready to be eaten?

I like to think my man is thankful just because he’s a thankful person. I’ve noticed that some people are incurably thankful, even when things seem to be going wrong. Other people find things to complain about when everything in their lives seems to be going right. I think the lesson here is that true thanksgiving comes from the inside of a person, not from outside circumstances.

Paul wrote in two of his letters about how a thankful heart comes from being in a loving relationship with God. The first was written to the church at Colossae:

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)

This kind of thanksgiving has nothing to do with the things we have, our positive life experiences or the privileges we enjoy. It is a part of the new spiritual life that has been born and continues to grow within those who have received Christ.

The second of Paul’s teachings is in his letter to the church at Ephesus, where he advised them:

Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20)

The original meaning behind the word debauchery is “overindulgence” in anything that we hope will bring us pleasure and give us a cause for thanksgiving. But this is a phony thanksgiving, because it is soon followed by regret for the stuffed feeling we have from overeating or a hangover from too much wine. Some of our Thanksgiving Day celebrations may involve this artificial cause for thanksgiving. By contrast, Paul encourages his believing friends to cultivate the true thanksgiving that’s already in them because of their new spiritual life. 

My young friend above seems to have that true thanksgiving oozing out of him. Looks like he got woke spiritually at some point in his young life. If so, he’s going to be continually happified whatever life brings him, and he’ll bring Woop Woops! to his family and everybody else around him.

— Pastor George Van Alstine