I need to spend some time this morning thinking about Thanksgiving and planning for our services. I want to celebrate Thanksgiving within the context of the ‘overflow.’ Here is the context of the command in the scriptures to ‘overflow with thanksgiving.’
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
(Col. 2:6-15, NIV)
This passage comes after a whole chapter proclaiming the gospel of Christ, the deity of Christ, and the mystery of Christ. One thing is certainly clear in this letter to the Colossians and to us – Paul is unashamedly and wholeheartedly Christ-centered. It’s all about Christ and the gospel – any other message he warns is ‘hollow and deceptive philosophy.’ Our thanksgiving must begin with Christ and remain centered on him. We come to Thanksgiving with the command to be people ‘overflowing with thankfulness.’ The context is Christ – who he is and what he has done. He is the Lord – the fullness of Deity. What has he done? He has given us ‘fullness in Christ.’ Have we really laid hold of this fullness that we have been given? Are we laying hold of it? People who are full have plenty to be thankful for, in fact, you might say we should naturally spill over with thanksgiving . What does that fullness look like? When we lay hold of this fullness there is no greater response than thanks. How do we maximize the thanksgiving? We share the source of our fullness, Jesus Christ, with others.
“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.” (2 Cor. 4:15, NIV)
Lord, may thanksgiving overflow to your glory through my life in two ways. First through my lips that offer praise to you as an act of worship and through lips that confess your name and tell others about Christ and the fullness that is found in him. Amen.