Thinking About Thanksgiving at Christmas?

Keith Crosby 

How can you and I give thanks to God for sending Jesus at Christmas?  Psalm 100 gives us insight into giving thanks in general to God and thanks specifically for the love He showed and shows us through sending His Son at Christmas.

"Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!  Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!  Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!  For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100

Psalm 100 is a praise and thanksgiving “sandwich.”  Verses 1 and 5 are the bread: “Make a joyful noise to the LORD... for the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”

What comes between the bread is the meat of how to do this: “Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!  Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Here’s how to deliberately make a joyful noise to Him with your life and lips in light of who He is (the LORD) and how He is (good, steadfast, and faithful).  We can deliberately and thoughtfully take these six actions after getting over the shock and awe of His goodness towards us. Without getting too technical, in the original Hebrew of Psalm 100 this command and statement speaks to having a joyful-knee jerk reaction to God’s character and nature. Think of who God is and how God is.

Even when we fail Him He doesn’t fail us. This Christmas, ponder John  3:16, which reminds us that God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son so that whoever trusted in Him for their salvation would not ever perish but enjoy eternal life. Think through Romans 5:8, which tells us that while we were yet sinners and unconcerned about God that God demonstrated His love toward us through Jesus’ sacrifice. Remember that in Galatians we read that at just the right time, God sent His Son born to a woman under the law, to live under the law, to redeem those who were under sentence for violating the law. Elsewhere we read that He who knew no sin became sin for us and suffered in our place. If that doesn’t take your breath away nothing will. If that doesn’t get a reaction out of you then nothing will. Think about this: God became flesh and dwelt among men as He was and is full of grace and truth. This is what Christmas is all about.

The truth is that God came to rescue us from sin, death, and hell. This is not what we deserve, it is an act of grace (or mercy), something we don’t deserve. And as many as trust in this Truth to them He gives the ability to become His children, which is His will. The fact is that by doing things our way, mankind has cut itself off from God. But God came to earth to make a way for us back to Him so that we can be with Him for all time, after this momentary life we lead on this earth ends. That’s the breath-taking good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ---so make a joyful noise in reaction to it. Shout for joy! This is the good news of great joy that is for all people. This is the message of Christmas.

If you’ve embraced this message, then express your joy beyond making noise. Gladly serve Him. Sing praises to Him. Bless His name. For He is your God and you are His. Thinking about thanksgiving at Christmas? Consider using Psalm 100 as an outline for prayer, praise, and thanks. Read a verse or a sentence and pray it back to God from the heart. Make a joyful noise. Bless His name because He is good and He deserves no less from you or me.


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