Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s a day of celebrating how thankful I am for those I love and the love so freely given back.
Most of us are thankful for many things on a daily basis, but this one, very special day, we have an opportunity as a nation to all give thanks in unison. Just think, on this one day, millions of people gather together to intentionally show gratitude for blessings and love.
I realize, for many, this is a day of simply gorging on turkey with all the trimmings and watching football. I like that part too! Go Broncos! But what about the thankful part of Thanksgiving?
When I was a child, I did not know to thank God for my blessings. I hadn’t been taught it was God the pilgrims were thanking for the feast before them. In my young mind it was simply a day of food, football and two extra days away from School; all of which I was very thankful for.
When I became a Christian and learned that all good things are from God, Thanksgiving Day became more about focusing on gratitude for my blessings and making sure those I love know just how much they mean to me. Sharing the day with other grateful hearts makes the day all the more special.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His loving kindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of gods, for His loving kindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His loving kindness is everlasting. To Him who alone does great wonders, For His loving kindness is everlasting.
I am fully aware some of you reading these words may be in a season where you don’t feel you have much to be thankful for. You may feel you’d rather opt out of the festivities and order a pizza to eat all by yourself. I, like you, have had my share of disappointments and tragedy. Times when life just doesn’t seem fair and times when I’d just as soon opt out of life and crawl in a hole than celebrate anything with anyone. We’ve all been there. It’s okay. But lonely pizza eating should only be a short term comfort, not a permanent life strategy.
So How Do We Opt Back IN?
What gets me out of my lonely pizza eating is in knowing the opt out period is only temporary as is the situation. Unfortunately, life is filled with ups and downs where we feel we have no control or say so in the outcome. I’m a fan of the ups, not so much of the downs. Unfortunately we seem to learn more from the downs than we do from the ups. Sigh…
If you are in a “hide away hole” of sorts right now and would rather eat pizza all by yourself instead of feasting with others, may I encourage you to take a peak outside of your hole? I promise, you will only hurt yourself and those who love you by avoiding a day of food, family and fun.
Once you take a peak outside your hole, the first and best thing to do is tell God. Tell Him about your troubles. Tell Him you have absolutely no enthusiasm for celebrating anything with anyone. Ask Him for a solution. He’ll listen! He always does!
Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me. Psalm 86:6-7
Tell A Trusted Friend
Sometimes we just need to pour our hearts out to someone we trust. Someone we know will listen and understand. Someone who is brave enough to tell us to get over our pity party if that’s what it turns out to be. Someone who will pray with and for us; asking for wisdom in how to handle the situation. After all, you’d do the same for that person too right!?
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
for brothers to dwell together in unity!
Before you get upset with me and stop reading, please give me just a moment more of your time. I ask you simply this; what do you have to be thankful for? Nothing you say? I don’t believe you. We all have many things to be thankful for even in the midst of despair.
Make A Gratitude List
Make a list, yes a list. Whom do you love? Who loves you? Do you have a warm bed to sleep in? Do you have food to eat? Do you have a roof over your head? You get the point.
We all have something to be grateful for even if we can’t see beyond our sadness because of difficult circumstances. Ask God and your friend to remind you of your blessings.
Now start your gratitude list. I promise it will make you feel better. As your list grows, so will your joy. Gratitude is one of the strongest medicines for curing an aching heart. Please try it. And anytime you are feeling down, go back and re-read your list. Add to it from time to time. It’s amazing how it helps!
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” Epictetus
If you are living in peace and harmony right now, I thank God with you for a peaceful time. Please share this with those you know that may need some encouragement.
If you are struggling just to hang on one more day, I pray this becomes a bright spot in a dismal day. Hang on to the promises of God. He will never leave you or forsake you.
Father God, I thank You so very much for the blessings in my life. I pray each day I am not falling short in showing just how thankful I am for Your constant love and direction. I pray for those reading this who may be experiencing tragedy or difficulty in their lives. Please give them peace and comfort as You lead them through and see them safe to the other side of the storm. Please help them recall goodness and blessings the enemy of this world would rather they forget. Please bless our service men and women and keep them safe from harm. I love You more than words can say. In the matchless name of Jesus, our Lord, Savior and Friend, Amen.
May the Lord of all creation bless you and yours abundantly today and always.
In His embrace,