This year we have a house full of family for Thanksgiving. My brother and his two adult children, along with their children are here as well as our immediate family. My niece and her family visited last night and it was great. The young group of cousins played well together. It was refreshing too to have someone say thank you for everything – from getting them a drink to helping them get pizza slices. You don’t hear children saying thank you as much as you used to. It just seemed so natural to them.
I know that everyone does not have the same holiday experience. There are those who are experiencing sickness, loss, pain, rejection, loneliness. Some will be celebrating alone, others won’t be celebrating at all. It’s not Norman Rockwell all over the world. So how do we deal with disappointments and things that are hard to be thankful while experiencing? How do we find a thankful heart in a thankless world full of personal misfortune? Maybe you are wondering just that. Your holiday may be a huge reminder of your loss or your aloneness. It may be the expectations of past holidays have captured you and nothing can compare to what once was. Now you just live with it. You endure the day, with nothing to do but get through it.
The best way to build a heart of thanksgiving, in spite of life’s ups and downs, is to start small and change your focus. Just as my niece’s daughters have obviously practiced saying thank you for everything, we too must practice a thankful heart. Not just on a holiday, but every day. Everyday thankfulness makes for much Thanksgiving. By changing our focus, we no longer look at the view around us searching for something to give thanks for. We look within, where God dwells, and develop a thankful heart for Him.
Oh beloved, regardless where you are this morning, you have much to be thankful for. Whether a turkey’s in the oven or a tv dinner is in the microwave, you are alive. You are experiencing another day in God’s marvelous grace plan. God has given you the gift of time. He has blessed you with the breath of life and not one breath is taken without His loving care. You have the Book of Life, God’s Word, to remind you of all you can be thankful for. You live in a country where it is still free to thank God aloud, thank God for your meal, thank God for life itself and the opportunity to share Him with a lost and dying world. Things may not be great, but where there’s life there’s hope for a better future. No hardship lasts forever. Don’t waste another moment being sorry about what isn’t. Practice thankfulness as an act of worship and see what God will do for you.
God loves you and He’s for you. As you give thanks for everything you will experience that deep seated joy found in the Presence of the Lord. Your life is a gift, your opportunities are fresh and God’s mercies say forget yesterday and focus on Him, the Great I AM. He will never leave you alone or forsake you and that alone will give you a heart of Thanksgiving all the days of your life.
I Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 5:20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Psalm 103:1-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, ao that your youth is renewed like the eagle.