The Father of Lights
Open Your Bible
James 1:16-18, Genesis 1:14-19, Psalm 136:1-9, Isaiah 59:1-2, Isaiah 59:9-16, Jeremiah 31:35-37, Hebrews 13:8
Scripture Reading: James 1:16-18, Genesis 1:14-19, Psalm 136:1-9, Isaiah 59:1-2, Isaiah 59:9-16, Jeremiah 31:35-37, Hebrews 13:8
Section 1: The Light of the World
I appreciate that in the United States, we recognize and celebrate Thanksgiving before the Christmas season. I’ve found the order of events to be helpful for my heart. “Gratitude before gifts” might be an oversimplification, but the posture of a thankful heart is best suited to spur generosity of spirit. Today’s passages bear this out.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17). James tells us this truth while Genesis 1 provides some specifics on a few of these gifts: evening and morning, seasons, time, sunshine, stars, and moonlight. The beauty of nature and its rhythms are gifts from our heavenly Father, and though we are surrounded by them every day, do we appreciate them? I know that I often don’t.
Here is where the psalmist’s directives are significant: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good” (Psalm 136:1). He repeats variations of this multiple times: “give thanks to the God of gods…give thanks to the Lord of lords” (vv.2–3). Perhaps we need such a reminder to make this practice part of our daily rhythms. To live in the truth that God is good, we must orient our hearts in a posture of gratitude. Much like a physical posture, it’s a conscious decision to practice.
Scripture commands us to do so because He is worthy of our thanks, but a “gratitude attitude” (as my dad frequently intoned) is something that, in God’s wisdom, also changes us. Living in obedience and proclaiming our thanks for His good gifts adjusts our hearts—another gift in itself. Some recent studies also suggest that gratitude may improve our physical bodies as well. In one recent study, participants wrote down something they were thankful for once a day for a mere two weeks. In that brief interval, they reported improvement in general well being, as well as a reduction in stomach pain, headaches, and sore throats. Remarkable!
The loss in forgetting God is great. Isaiah depicts it as “grop[ing] along a wall” in darkness (Isaiah 59:10). But, praise God, we don’t need to be controlled by “shifting shadows” or darkness, for Jesus is our hope. This Advent season, we remember that our greatest gift came to earth from the Father of lights (James 1:17). Don’t be deceived, distracted, or dissuaded; this Advent, let us endeavor to give thanks, give thanks, give thanks, for He is good!
Written by Jennifer Redmond