How do you say, “Thank you?” There are many ways. When you give someone a gift and they beam you a bright smile, that is a heartwarming expression of gratitude. When you give someone a gift and get a thank you card, or even email, that feels good. (By the way, psychologists have found that writing a thank you note has great emotional benefits – a feeling of well-being). Before the pandemic you could give someone a hug along with your words of thanks.
But there is one gift for which there are no words. That gift is Jesus. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, “Thanks be to Go for his indescribable gift.” Indescribable! Too wonderful for words. The Greek word can also be translated “unspeakable.” A gift for which words fail.
Jesus Christ is great beyond the ability of language to express it.
In the birth story, it is noteworthy that Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, was unable to speak after Gabriel told him he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son despite their age. Unspeakable.
The gift of the Messiah is too wonderful for words. In church we sing our hearts out (in non-pandemic times sadly) and we read the Bible and say the Confession of Faith and pray and our words fall short of the glory of God. But we speak them anyway. We peak them because those words spring from our hearts and minds.
But when all is said and done, this gift is indescribable. Words help immensely, but they can’t do it justice.
God has swept us up in his love and mercy and wants communion with us. He has brought us into his family as his children. We are with him.
So today we will say thanks. We can and we should say thanks. Our cup runneth over. But when all is said and done, the dimensions of the gift of the savior are beyond description, thanks be to God.
Ephesians 3 relates this to us beautifully. It says the gift of love is a mystery. It is too grand for us contain it. It is limitless. Paul writes, 8 Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 10 so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him. The boundless riches of Christ!
Paul goes on, 16 I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Paul says he yearns for us to know the dimensions of God’s love in his Son, what is the breath and length and height and depth. What is more to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.
And if you heard it, we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in Christ.
Today, thanksgiving day, we thank God with such words as we can muster and God hears our feeble effort and takes it to heart and is glorified in it then turns right back to us and fills us to overflowing with his bountiful love.
In the words of the hymn, “O Worship the King”
Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite? It breathes in the air, it shines in the light.
In the words of the hymn, “O Sacred Head Now Wounded,”
“What language shall I borrow to thank thee dearest friend?”
In the words of the hymn, “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,”
“O for a thousand tongues to sing, My great redeemer’s praise, The glories of my God and king, The Triumphs of his grace
“My gracious Master and God, assist me to proclaim; To spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy name.”
Our words fall short. Anyway, God wants our hearts.
Shall we pray? “Words are inadequate to thank you Lord. So we turn over to our lives, heart, soul, mind and strength beseeching you to aid us in holding back nothing from you, but loving you for your indescribable gift, Jesus Christ. And we lift our prayers of thanksgiving to you in his name. Our gracious Master and our God, assist us to proclaim; to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy name. Amen.