By Daniel Schantz
“Seven times a day I praise you” (Psalm 119:164).
It’s Thanksgiving season, the perfect time to give thanks for the family of God.
The Father—We can be thankful that God, the Father, let his Son make the trip to earth. Letting go of our children when they grow up is the hardest thing a parent ever does. We know what they will have to face, but holding them back is selfish and weakens them.
How did God, the Father, find the strength to stand by while the Jewish leaders slimed his Son, kicked him around, and then skewered him to a cross?
It was God’s love for us that restrained his wrath. He wanted us to become a part of his extended family, and his Son’s atoning death was our port of entry.
The Son—We can be thankful that Jesus was a teacher. He could have remained a carpenter and had an easier life. Building men and women can be excruciating work, yet teaching is one profession that makes all other dreams possible. His teachings showed us the specifics of adoption into his family.
We can be glad he was not one of those sophisticated philosopher types, who went around dazzling students with his pretentious vocabulary and convoluted theories. Smart as he was, he just told stories and asked searching questions. Even children could understand him.
His sweet spirit charmed the common people, who “heard him gladly” (Mark 12:37, King James Version). Because he explained Heaven in plain language, we now know the way.
The Holy Spirit—We can be thankful that Jesus left us with a friend, the Comforter. When the disciples wanted Jesus to stick around, he told them, “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you” (John 16:7, KJV).
Jesus went away, but he did not leave us as orphans. He left us with a holy family, the church. He left us a handbook, the Bible. And he left us a friend, the Holy Spirit, who understands our loneliness.
Here at the Lord’s table we feel his presence. We are consoled by the music, we taste his goodness in the emblems, we share our secrets with him in prayer.
Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we leave this place, strangely warmed by his presence.
Daniel Schantz is a professor emeritus of Central Christian College of the Bible, Moberly, Missouri.