There are people all over this world who are not as well off as you are, including right here in New Bern. There are those that are homeless, who have to work on Thanksgiving Day; like doctors, nurses, firefighters, police, those who can't make it home to be with their families; like our men and women, in our Armed Forces, fighting for our way of life and our privilege (don't ever forget that it's a privilege) to sit at home with our families and stuff ourselves full of turkey.
Consider the following when going about your day's activities tomorrow.
Be thankful for what you have, for what you see, what you hear.
Psalm 97:12 - “Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name! (ESV)
Psalm 105:1 – “Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!” (ESV)
Psalm 106:1 - “Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (ESV)
Psalm 136:1 – “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love (mercy) endures forever” (ESV)
I Thessalonians5:18- In everything (all circumstances) give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (ESV)
We’re all commonly encouraged to remember the true spirit of the holiday season during Thanksgiving and Christmas; but those encouragements usually come once the hectic pace of the holidays is already upon us. This year, I want to help you get into the spirit of the holidays before they hit …get into the sprit of Thanksgiving all year long!
The Apostle Paul wrote, “In everything, give thanks…” (I Thessalonians5:18) Gratitude and thanksgiving needs to be cultivated in your spirit daily. When you get up in the morning, be thankful. When you get dressed, be thankful someone doesn’t have to do it for you. When you go outside and it’s sunny, be thankful. When it’s raining, be thankful. The beauty of nature, the outdoors, fresh air, birds, wildlife, things we take for granted every day….be thankful. When you are healthy and things are going well, be thankful; but even if you are sick and things are bad, be thankful because they could be worse.
We should reflect every day, not just during Thanksgiving, on what we have to be grateful for. Pray daily to God, express your thankfulness for His blessings in and around your life. We are told to “Pray without ceasing.” Does that mean we need to walk around all day with our head bowed and eyes closed? No, but we are to recognize the blessings in our life each day and we are to be in constant communication with God. Thankfulness is not a once a year novelty. It’s not to be put on once a year like our reindeer holiday sweater! I believe we need to daily cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).We are to give thanks in all things, not some things, not the great and wonderful things, but in everything.
Does that mean I am thankful if my car gets totaled? Well, I can be thankful that I wasn’t seriously hurt. What about the really tough things in life like losing a job, a home, or the death of a loved one? Ouch! Thankfulness? Seriously? Oh, I know we can say the right, “spiritual” thing in such circumstances. It’s harder to have a thankful heart in the circumstance. God isn’t saying to be thankful that something awful has happened. He knows we are human, we get hurt, we lose hope, and suffer grief. No, rather he wants us to give thanks in the face of it. Psalm 34:19 – “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (ESV) Be Thankful, trust God, and He will see you through those times.
Will you stop and give thanks this week?
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!