• Hughson T. Ong

Faith and Thanksgiving


When I think about the things I’m thankful for every Thanksgiving, the usual and familiar list comes to mind—family, friends, health, work, and a few good and pleasant things or events that have happened the past year. I usually share these thoughts with my family, and at times with friends over Thanksgiving meals. The sharing time is always very special to me, because I always feel thankful and grateful for the life that I have and the blessings I received from the Lord.


However, this year, as I thought of writing about faith and thanksgiving, I suddenly realized that I have never really thanked God for the faith that enabled me to be thankful on every Thanksgiving. I do believe that many people can be and are thankful for the many precious things they possess and wonderful events they experience throughout their life. But for those who have faith, there seems to be a special connection between their faith and the reason why they are thankful.


People usually express thankfulness because they experience a feeling of contentment when a need or a wish is met. The source of their thankfulness is the object or experience that provides them the feeling of satisfaction. But people of faith, especially Christians, feel thankful and express their gratefulness because they acknowledge that God is the source of the object or the experience for which they are thankful. In my case, I feel thankful because I always recognize that God is the source of all the things and events I am grateful for. That upward vertical expression of thankfulness happens because I have a thankful heart and spirit; as the Psalmist says, “I give you thanks, Lord, with all my heart” (Ps. 138:1).


I hope that all people would come to faith so that they can also experience this type of thankful heart and spirit. To be thankful for something or to someone that fulfills our wish or need, or that provides us with satisfaction and contentment is, of course, a good thing. But it takes more than just the ability to express thankfulness, or the act of expressing thankfulness, to be truly thankful.

True thanksgiving is a matter of the heart, one that is directed to the one who created us and supplied everything we need in life.

Indeed, a broken spirit and a contrite heart is what God truly desires (Ps. 51:15-16).