A Life of Thanksgiving by Dan Nelson

It seems that so many people are stressed this time of year.  As the holidays are quickly coming upon us, you can see it in people’s faces. While some people seem to be lifted, more joyous and carefree during this time, for others smiles have all but disappeared.  As lines at the grocery store grow longer, traffic jams thicker and patience seems to grow thinner, holiday cheer is the farthest thing from the minds of so many. Soccer and football season is barely over and frantic faces of frustrated people are everywhere; some even seem on the verge of freaking out.

Thanksgiving Day is meant to be a day of reflection and appreciation, a day of gratitude.  It is a day set aside to remember what is important, to foster thankfulness in our hearts for the many blessings that we enjoy every single day.   But I think that if we are not careful, we miss it. As a child, preparing for thanksgiving meant school projects of craft turkeys and centerpieces joined with history lessons about pilgrims.  We especially loved getting out of school for a couple of days. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, with cousins we hadn’t seen in almost a year, we would stuff ourselves to the top with the most delicious feast of the year.  I remember sitting with the other children, each of us sporting an olive at the end of each finger, as we eagerly waited for someone to lead a prayer and the feast to begin. The amazing aroma of turkey and mashed potatoes, hot bread, fresh pumpkin and apple pies all coming out of the kitchen at the same time was pure paradise.  We giggled as Aunt Margaret brought out her famous dish that none of the children ever had the guts to try because we didn’t even know what it was.  We laughed together as we delighted in the sheer fun of it all.  As though icing on the cake (or should I say whipped cream on the pie) we loved thanksgiving because to us, this was the official launch of the Christmas season, the most beloved holiday of all.  We were thankful and enjoyed every minute of it.

I am sharing this with you because I think you might be able to relate to me in this.   I believe there is a common thread of experience in the holiday of Thanksgiving that many of us share that ties in with a valuable life truth; a thankful heart is a key to happiness.  The Bible tells us to come before God with an attitude of thanksgiving, to praise and worship Him with a heart of thanksgiving, to ask Him for the things that we need with thanksgiving.  (Psalm 95:2, Psalm 147:7, Philippians 4:6)  In other words, our approach to God should always be with a grateful heart, recognizing that we are blessed.  It seems that we shouldn’t ask for more until we appreciate what we already have been given.

We truly enjoy so much every day to be thankful for.  So before we get upset, angry, or bitter because of the scheduling challenges, financial strain, and (dare I say) difficult people that we sometimes encounter, let’s take some time to count our blessings.  Let’s not take for granted our freedoms, prosperity, and the people who make this life so special. Let’s also remember from Whom our blessings flow; the Bible says that all good gifts come from God.  (James 1:17)  So if you feel that Thanksgiving Day is approaching too quickly and you are in danger of missing it, don’t worry, and start now. Make today Thanksgiving Day.  You see, for a Christian, everyday should be a day of thanksgiving.

Categories Pastors Blog | Tags: | Posted on November 18, 2017

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