At my church, we sometimes sing a song entitled, "Give thanks with a grateful heart." At first blush, that seemed redundant to me. How can you give thanks without a grateful heart?
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how often I say words of thanks – to other people or to God – almost flippantly, without taking the time to think about the sacrifice that was made, whether it was a sacrifice of time, or energy, or money, or, in the case of Jesus, the sacrifice of His life.
Sometimes, the appreciation I do show is often based on how the gift affects me, when it ought to be on the thoughtfulness of the one who gave it.
I believe this is how we should react to God’s gifts to us, not only during the Thanksgiving season, but always. We can be thankful for the gifts, but true worship comes when we take the time to focus our attention on Him as the giver of life and freedom. If we do that, we will truly be able to give thanks with a grateful heart.