Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, even above Christmas….I know, I know. Sounds crazy right? But there is something about the essence of Thanksgiving that just fills me up inside, makes me feel warm and loved, and smells exactly like home. But more important than all that, it’s the spirit of thankfulness surrounding Thanksgiving that makes it truly special. So this year, I’ve pulled my ten favorite verses on thankfulness. Meditating on these helps to posture the heart and lay a foundation for living a life full of joy and peace no matter the circumstances.
A Spirit of Thankfulness
Before we get there, though, lets explore the concept of thankfulness. We all feel we inherently know what it means. We grow up saying “please” and “thank you” so it’s ingrained in us, but do we really understand the depths of thankfulness?
The Difference in Thankfulness and Gratitude
There’s several different interpretations of the thankfulness and gratitude. But in general, it’s safe to say that gratitude is specific to a certain situation. You are grateful for the help of a friend. And it can be broad as well such as being grateful for God’s gift of life. But no matter how broad, gratefulness is still specific.
On the other hand, thankfulness is an offshoot of joy and praise. Thankfulness is not circumstantial, rather it’s a state of being.
The difference in gratitude and thankfulness is like the difference in happiness and joy. Gratitude and happiness are good and not lesser than thankfulness and joy, but they are situational. Thankfulness and joy, though, surpass circumstances. It’s an overflow of all that is good, of all that is God. Even in the midst of difficulty we can be thankful and joyful, and not for some specific reason (such as “even though finances are tough, I’m grateful God has provided us with jobs” or “even though we lost a loved one, I’m happy it brought the family closer.”), it’s just because even though life is hard, God is good.
Thankfulness lays the foundation for a life lived full of joy. And it is through the lens of thankfulness that we gain eyes to see all the many things we have to be grateful for. When we posture ourselves in thankfulness to the Father, it illuminates all the beautiful moments and gifts that He provides us throughout the day. “Every good and perfect gift is from above” and a life lived from a place of thankfulness is able to recognize all those wonderful God given gifts, big and small alike (James 1:17).
Thankfulness Akin to Joy and Praise
As we will see in the verses to follow, thankfulness in the Bible is often accompanied with praise and joy. It’s a posture, a way of approaching God that brings Him glory and honor above all else. It acknowledges Him as King of Kings. We don’t enter His presence downtrodden but with arms lifted and heads held high in celebration of who He is. It’s a heart of thanksgiving, an overflow of His goodness, an expression of praise.
When we truly recognize the goodness of God, all that He has made available to us through His salvation, the beauty of His nature, we can’t help but experience a peace like no other and express joy and thankfulness overflowing from a place of complete wonder at who He is.
Ten Bible Verses on Thankfulness
So with all that in mind, to get ourselves in a spirit of thankfulness this Thanksgiving, here are 10 Bible Verses on thankfulness. Every one of these is worth studying in depth, both the verses themselves and the scriptures surrounding them.
Bible Verses on Thankfulness as an expression of Praise
Psalm 100:4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”
Psalm 95:2 “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”
2 Corinthians 4:15 “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”
Psalm 9:1 “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”
Psalm 69:30 “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving”
Bible Verses on Thankfulness as a Welcome for God’s Presence
Nehemiah 12:27 “At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres.”
2 Chronicles 5:13 “The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: ‘He is good; His love endures forever.’ Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud,”
Bible Verses on Thankfulness as an Expression of Trust and Faith for What is to Come
1 Chronicles 16:34-35 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations that we may give thanks to Your holy name, and glory in Your praise.”
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Bible Verse on Thankfulness as Our Portion and State of Being in the New Heaven and New Earth
Isaiah 51:3 “The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; He will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
Why We live with a Heart of Thankfulness
At the end of it all, a heart of thankfulness not only honors God, it also creates a space in which His peace, joy, and presence can dwell. Without a heart turned in thankfulness and praise toward Him, we cannot live in the fullness of His promises for us. As these Bible verses on thankfulness show, when we live in thankfulness toward God, His presence and provision come. And, ultimately, a posture of thankfulness will be our portion along with joy, gladness, and singing once all is redeemed and restored under God’s rule and reign.
Life can be hard, but God is good. And so for that we live in peace, joy, and thankfulness looking ever toward Heaven and the day God’s will will be brought likewise to earth.