Thanksgiving comes every year, and giving thanks to God is a standard privilege of the Christian life. It is our obedience: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It is also a way to glorify God—notice the parallelism in Psalm 86:12: “I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.”
So how can we give thanks to God in a way that glorifies Him? Among many passages that could guide us, consider Psalm 65. After firing off four commands for the earth to praise the Lord (Psalm 65:1–4), the psalmist explains why the reader should “Come and see what God has done” (Psalm 66:5a). The Lord did awesome deeds to rescue Israel from Egypt (Psalm 66:5b–7). Then, the psalmist commands again, “Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of His praise be heard” (Psalm 66:8), the reason being that God led Israel through difficulty and yet delivered them “to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:9–12).
The psalmist then personalizes this praise by speaking from his life. He planned to worship God for being delivered when “in trouble” (Psalm 66:13–15) and then invites his readers to know the story: “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul” (Psalm 66:16). His righteous life yielded an answer from God for deliverance (Psalm 66:17–19), and he expected them to join his final note of praise: “Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!” (Psalm 66:20).
Collectively (cf. Psalm 66:5), what has the Lord done for us as a church this past year? What has He performed among us as an assembly that might provoke the watching world to praise? What experiences have we shared as a whole for which we can give our united thanks to Him?
Individually (cf. Psalm 66:16), what has the Lord done for you this past year? What has He done in your life that you would want His people to come and hear? How has He answered your prayers? How has He provided for you? How has He grown you in Christ? How has He shown His steadfast love to you in specific ways that, if shared, would provoke the rest of us to praise?
During this Thanksgiving season, as you have time, review what God has done this year. Think of the many ways in which God has been good to His people. Review His kindnesses to our church. Recall the kindnesses that He has shown specifically to you, and then share these blessings with others so that they can bless God with you. If nothing else, give thanks to the Father for salvation through His Son made possible by the work of the Spirit in you.