Editor’s note: It’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving! Does your church host a Thanksgiving worship service, hand out food baskets, or cook Thanksgiving dinner for the community? Consider sending participants home with a Thanksgiving gift from CTA. Look for magnetic calendars, devotion books, and bookmarks at www.CTAinc.com!
How empty life would feel if we could not remember:
- The happy lick of a puppy’s tongue
- That week we spent in bed with chicken pox at age seven
- The tottering gait of our child’s first step
- The splendor of a path cut through a yellow, orange, green, and brown forest
- The agony of sacrifice that backlights, as it were, our nation’s flag whenever we sing the national anthem
As our nation pauses in November to give thanks for the hundred thousand blessings our Lord so freely pours into our lives, we can thank him also for the gift of memory, the ability to recall individual instances of his goodness. Listen to these familiar words in which the psalmist David recounts God’s blessings, remembering specific gifts from God’s hand:
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:2–5 ESV).
Wonderful as it is to remember, how terrible life would be without the ability to forget! Part of the appeal of “the good old days” comes from the fact that our minds tend to remember the good times and forget the bad ones! We remember the ice cream and the cartoon marathons from our chicken pox days, but forget the itchiness, the fever, and the arithmetic make-up work.
Much more seriously, those who survive the trauma of war or abuse yearn to wipe the dark memories from their consciousness. With Job, they ache to “forget [their] misery . . . remember[ing] it as waters that have passed away” (Job 11:16 ESV).
As God’s people, we celebrate our Lord’s willingness to remember—to remember his covenant of love toward us in Christ Jesus from now into eternity. As God’s people, we also celebrate his promise to forget—for Jesus’ sake! Twice the writer to the Hebrews repeats these sweet words:
In light of what we remember and what we have forgotten, in light of what our Savior remembers and what he promises to forget, we have much for which to give thanks—this Thanksgiving and every day!
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