It is that time of year again! Ready or not Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Time flies when you are having fun...and when you are not having fun! Time just flies. If I were honest, I would have to say that Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. Most that love it, do so because of the food. I like to eat as much as the next person, but Turkey? Really?! If it were that great, why don't we eat it all year round? (and not just sliced on a sandwich!) If we started serving steak, pork chops or prime rib, I could see it climbing to the top of the holidays chart!
The reason I do love Thanksgiving is because it brings us back to this idea of thankfulness. I'm sure your family does the "go around the table and tell us what your thankful for," bit. I'm also sure at this time of year you hear a sermon or some conversation about being thankful all year, not just at Thanksgiving. Either way, it is a great time to talk about giving thanks. Regardless of being cliche, here are a few thoughts I have on Thankfulness!
1. Be thankful in the moment.
When God does something in your life, thank Him! When someone blesses you, thank them! Don't wait. Not only should we be thankful for the bigger things in life, but also for the small things that we tend to take for granted.
Yes, I'm asking you to be that person. The person who is always thankful for every little thing. Be thankful that you woke up this morning! Be thankful that you can walk and talk. Be thankful for clean water and a warm house. Even though "these people" can be overly positive and happy, it is likely because they are overly thankful. One of my favorite passages about thankfulness is found in Colossians 3:16. "Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." This is how we should live our lives. Those around us would take notice, even if it's because we are now "those people!"
2. Remember what God has done.
It doesn't take long for the newness of anything to come to an end. I remember when we first purchased our new minivan. Yes, we are minivan people much to my wife's chagrin! No food, no drinks, don't touch anything, this van is going to stay as nice as when we bought it. I'm not saying that it is now a pig pen, but I'm also saying that food and drink are a pretty regular occurrence in it, and after a vacation...well, let's just say it takes quite some time to clean it up!
We do the same thing in our lives. We thank God in the moment, but then the moment passes. Psalm 103:2 in The Message says, "O my soul, bless God, don't forget a single blessing!" Don't forget one single thing that He has done for you. Write them down and talk about them with your family so you can remember them often!
3. Don't let your blessing become a burden.
You may or may not know what I am talking about here, so let me give you an illustration. You have prayed and prayed that God would give you a job that can provide for you. The door opens and you could not be more excited. You are so thankful and tell everyone what God has done! Months and maybe years have gone by and we forget that this was a blessing. Why? Because the job isn't fun anymore. There are frustrating co-workers and bosses. It wasn't everything you hoped it would be. I'm not saying that you should stay miserable, but I am saying how quickly we can turn a blessing from God into a burden in our lives.
If I can meddle a little further, we can do the same thing at home. We pray to have a child and God finally answers! We call them a miracle baby, because that is exactly what they are. Every parent reading this is well aware that sleepless nights are ahead! Paying for diapers and changing these diapers are right around the corner. Pretty soon they are eating you out of house and home! If we aren't careful, in the middle of those moments, we can forget what a blessing it was to find out, "we're pregnant!"
We are not alone. The Israelites did just this! In Numbers 11 it states, "We're starving out here, and the only food we have is this manna." It wasn't that long before this that they were actually starving and God saved their life with this same manna. Don't be like the Israelites!
4. Are you still thankful?
I'll end with this thought: are you still thankful for what God has done in your life? If you aren't careful, the very blessing God gave you can become a wedge between you and Him. It can become the very thing that pushes you away. How you handle what God has blessed you with is important. Let's not lose sight or perspective in this life. It is easy to look at the moment and lose sight of the faithfulness of God through it all.
Let this time of year remind you to be thankful. It's okay if it's cliche. Share at the table with your family. Think about all that God has done. Thank Him that "all things work for good." Thank Him for the abundance, the child, the job, the unanswered prayers and even the trials that have made you what you are today! I'll close with a quote from Meister Eckhart, a German theologian who died in 1328:
"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'Thank You,' that would suffice."