Happy Thanks-giving! I truly hope it is a fun-filled day of laughter, community, and great joy. I know that our family experiences will widely vary and for some, it will be a time of great restoration while others are dreading what is to come. Whatever your circumstances, may you find some encouragement from the words of the Apostle Paul. Somehow this guy was able to find JOY in the midst of adversity. Despite his imprisonment, he constantly looked upward to God and outward to others.
The book of Philippians was written by the Apostle Paul while he was imprisoned. He wrote it to express his affection and appreciation for the believers in Philippi. Paul’s love for his dear friends is obvious throughout this book and I️ find his prayer over them especially fitting for us today on Thanksgiving.
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
May you too know that…
- “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6),
- “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)
- “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)
By centering your life on Jesus, you too may find true JOY! Start by giving thanks for the people God has placed in your life. As you reflect, be specific like Paul…taking into account the details for which you are grateful. Savor the unexpected. See the good things as “gifts”.