Turkey Day is coming. It is a day full of traditions, family, food, and fun. Memories will be made and celebrated. My adult children still recount Thanksgiving Treasures like the time one juked dad out during the family football game. These times give us anchor points to weather the storms of life. We need such occasions to focus our perspective. Daily challenges and chaos can swamp us without the memories of where we have come from and what we have, so we can keep going.
Our current celebration originated for such reasons. The Plymouth Colony survivors set aside a specific time to express gratitude. Why? They had made it through desperate times. They had lived. They had provisions for the next winter and year. They had friends to help them. They had hope. They had God to carry and lead them forward.
It is easy to get distracted by all the preparations and accommodations of this week. Often, we charge into the meal with little thought to why. As a youth I often was perturbed by my mom’s efforts to initiate any forms of reflection. I wanted to get to the good stuff, like the stuffing. In so doing I ignored nurturing an attitude of living thankfully. God hammered it into me in other ways, often by the 2×4 method. I can be stubborn at times.
It is His intent that we live actively aware of our bounty. We are told to pray in all things and times with thanksgiving. (Phil 4:4-8) Paul was able to be content, (thankful) in all things. (Phil 4:11-13) Thankfulness is to be expressed as a life attitude as we dwell in His peace. (Col 3:15-16) Giving thanks is an act of praise to God. (Ps 7:17, 9:1, 18:49, 30:4, 33:2, 44:8 just for a few) Being thankful helps us remember that we are not in this alone. (Rom 16:4) Without thankful lives we run the risk of forgetting God. (Rom 1:21) It seems in God’s eyes gratitude is important and keeps us in the right frame of mind.
SO, WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR? Your first response maybe, “I don’t know”. Politics, COVID, changes, finances, relations and more may be clouding your perspective. If so, life proves my point. Practicing active thanksgiving takes effort and is important. So, let me help you. What if you found out today that you are going blind, or that your spouse is unfaithful, or that you have been laid off from work or that your child has been abducted? Now how thankful are you for your health, your spouse, your job, and your kids? Plus, can you remember what it was like to live without the presence of God and salvation in Jesus?
Be specific. It helps bring things closer to home. List them. I can give you seven without even trying. You probably can see, hear, taste, smell, feel, walk, and talk. Which would you give up? You can also consider being thankful for the tough times. Really you may ask and why would you do that? Because the past tough times tell you that you can make it through. You are resilient. God is faithful. You need not fear. And more than likely many of your strengths now are because you learned lessons back then. Be thankful.
Bottom line, this year chose to be thankful. Prepare now for your Thanksgiving meal. Have 10 things you are thankful for. Initially the list may be trite. But the journey to living a life of thanksgiving has to start somewhere.
God has blessed you, Take notice.