As we approach Advent and celebrate Thanksgiving, I remind us all that one of the most important invitations and commands that fills the pages of the Bible is to give thanks. And as I sometimes remind the students, we are to give thanks not “some of the time for some things” but “always for all things.”
Paul David Tripp gives us a beautiful vision for the transforming power of gratitude in his article “Give Thanks for More This Year.” His words are a timeless reminder of the delightful duty of giving thanks to and for our beautiful Savior.
Give Thanks for More This Year
By Paul David Tripp
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for beauty. God has filled his world with such magnificent beauty, and more amazingly, has given us – undeserving rebels that we are – the ability to sense and delight in his beautiful creation.
I am thankful for my ability to see beauty:
the blooming bouquet
the spotted leopard
the multi-hued sunset
the pillowy cloud
the golden sun
the crystal display of a starry night.
I am thankful for my ability to hear beauty:
the crash of the wave
the song of the bird
the whisper of the breeze
the chaotic harmony of jazz
the sound of a familiar voice
the percussive song of a rainy day.
I am thankful for my ability to taste, touch, and feel beauty:
the splash of water
the ribbony grain of wood
the sweetness of chocolate
the soft touch of holding hands
the tender kiss
the cold of a fresh snowfall.
God has painted his world with beauty. But pay careful attention here: none of those beautiful things are ultimate beauty.
The beauty of the created world was never meant to be the beauty that would fill the eyes of our hearts. It was never meant to be the beauty to which we would look for satisfaction and peace. It was never meant to be the beauty that we would give ourselves to search for, live for, cry for, and die for.
No, the physical beauties of this created world are meant to be sign beauties. All of the beautiful things that we see, touch, taste, and hear every day were designed to be signs that would point to the ultimate beauty that can be found only in the One who created them.
So this Thanksgiving, when you’re giving thanks for the beauty that surrounds you in the physical world that is your present home, require yourself to look beyond the signs to the stunning beauty of the God to whom each sign points.
Only his beauty can give you hope, strength, and peace. Only his beauty can give you life.
Perhaps our hearts feel empty and our souls are dissatisfied because we have tried to get from sign beauty what only ultimate beauty can give us.
Be thankful for the creation, but be sure to look beyond what you are thankful for and see the Creator.
In him, you will find true beauty – the kind that really does satisfy.