Any one can be thankful. We would all have to admit that, whether a person is giving thanks to a specific source or not, we have heard pretty much everybody in our lives saying, at some point, "Oh, I'm so thankful that/for...". So what is the difference between a natural and a Christ-centered thankfulness?
True Christ-centered gratitude does not simply say, "Oh, I'm so glad we have food to eat!". It is a gratitude pointed directly at Christ, acknowledging thankfulness to God for providing that food! Thank your Daddy for the hard work that God uses to bring it to the table -but don't forget to tell God thank you for your Daddy and his job, and the means to go get the food, either! But beyond just thanking God for those physical gifts to us, it is a deep thankfulness to God for His gift of spiritual life, that flows over every part of our life, making each act one of grateful service to him.
The root word for "grace", "gift", and "thanks" in the Greek is "charis". Nancy DeMoss points out, "The words are inseparable! And they should be inseparable in our hearts."
We do not just have a list of things that made us happy during the day to write down and then say, 'yep, I'm thankful!". We have something so precious, that even when no "happiness" comes from the day, we can still hold onto deep seated joy through our Savior and salvation. In everything, we have the assurance that "God's way are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts", and that he has plans to "bring us a future and a hope". Even in moments that may not make us "happy", we can be joyful in Christ because he is working out something that we can not see yet.
He has given us eternal life. Do we need anything else from him to be continually thankful? This one thing should fill our hearts to overflowing with joy no matter our circumstances!
These "Thankful" blog posts are inspired by Nancy Leigh DeMoss's book "Choosing Gratitude" :).