Thanks for the Memory

Thanks for the Memory” is a song attributed to several artists but probably most frequently to Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Although the catchy tune and lively lyrics are fun to listen to, the song’s title suggests a great way for launching a season of gratitude. Taking time to remember what the LORD has done helps this month’s emphasis on being thankful even sweeter. A timely reminder for this season is found in Psalms 103:2 “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” There is an assortment of focuses for directing our gratitude when reflecting on His benefits. One is pausing and remembering the variety of ways He has answered prayers over the past year. While doing this, we can experience the joy David expressed when writing Psalm 31:19 “Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of children of mankind.” Even if stopping for only a few minutes, many of us can recall how He has come through over the last 12 months. Whether it is was a promotion, healing of a loved one, new home, having enough for meeting monthly bills, or any other myriad of answered prayers, all are great reasons to tell Him thanks for the memory. During this season we need not limit our expressions of gratitude for answered prayers to just this past year as Psalm 77:11 tells us “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” This could be the couple celebrating their child’s fifth birthday after years of struggling with infertility. Or, the formerly lonely single person who has been happily married for 10 years. Additionally consider the person who worked in a desired profession for 20 years but at one time was a financially strapped high schooler receiving a full college scholarship. Pausing and reflecting on those long ago miracles are another great reason to say thanks for the memory. Taking inventory of the various attributes of the LORD one has experienced over this past year is an impetus for expressions of gratitude. Perhaps you experienced Him as the One “with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9) while navigating through a difficult patch. Or, He was the One you could “cast all your anxiety on” (1 Peter 5:7) during a period of angst. If you were fortunate to travel to breathtaking mountain ranges, perfectly sculpted beaches, or any other amazing scenery, a thanks to He who all creation “proclaims His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1) is in order. If you were blessed with safe travels to both far away beautiful places and during daily commutes, now is an opportune time for expressing appreciation to Him who “watches over your coming and going both now and forever more” (Psalm 121:8). When taking inventory of LORD’s attributes, the most timeless and greatest one is as the giver of the One through whom we have redemption of our sins and is the reconciler of our relationship with our Perfect Heavenly Father. Ephesians 2:12 reminds us we were once “separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Our hearts overflow with gratefulness because “now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). While there are multiple other focuses we can tell the LORD “Thanks for the memory”, an important one is for the people He has placed in our lives. Expressing gratitude for a spouse is a great action. If there has been a particularly tough situation a couple has faced over this last year, the words in Ecclesiastes 4:12 “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves” could direct prayers of appreciation. Hebrews 10:24 “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” is a reminder to say thanks for those the LORD has placed in our lives who are encouragers. We may have a neighbor who provides spot on advice for which we can praise the LORD for the “sweetness of a friend” which “comes from his earnest counsel” (Proverbs 27:9). As for that person who accepts us just as we are, let’s thank the LORD for a friend who “loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17). If blessed with someone who is always willing to pray for and with us, now is a great time to thank the LORD for connecting you to someone emulating “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In addition to expressing our gratitude to the LORD for enriching our lives with others, this is a great season for contacting them and saying “Thank you”. While the month of November brings cooler weather, a savory meal, and an opportunity to gather with family it is also a time to express gratitude to the One who loves us deeper than we can imagine and is the provider of inextinguishable hope. Our expressions of gratitude can be deeper when reflecting on all the myriad of reasons we can tell the LORD “Thanks for the memory.”