Thanksgiving. One Thursday each year focused on giving thanks. Just a day. It’s a good day. A feast day! It’s a start. But it can be so much more.
Maintaining a genuine attitude of gratitude doesn’t come easily. We’ve been prone to grumble and complain from the beginning of time! But thanks-giving can be a lifelong celebration. Then it’s a feast that feeds a joyful soul, full to overflowing. Thanks-giving is inspiring that way. A whole bunch of hungry neighbors will come to the table for some of that.
I can’t think of Thanksgiving without also remembering Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas. The Hubs and I were there one autumn day when nothing much was going right. We were mutually angry and distancing ourselves, he walking on ahead in his special, silent way. Then we found the chapel.
I lay down on my back in the middle of the floor to take it in. The spiraled stained glass spun up to the Glory Window, light streaming in through thousands of bright, sharp fragments, perfectly placed. A deep breath, then two, and nothing else mattered. I was thankful for this moment. This memory. This man. He took my hand. All was well, once again. Then I understood how it works, just like the chapel glass.
Thankfulness soars heavenward and takes your companions along for the ride.
A thankful heart is at peace, knowing God will provide. How can we help but be thankful for allthat he does? Through our family and friends, in those who show up and those who stick with us, God cares for us. And where there are gaps, he fills them! He protects us against evil, sometimes against all the odds he keeps us safe. He plucks us out of the muck, sets us off on a fresh start. He increases our faith in the simplest of ways and blesses those who keep the faith. We may feel alone in this moment but God won’t leave us hanging when we trust in him.
The apostle Paul spoke of learning to be content in all things. Once comfortably well off, he became a tent maker to pay his keep. He traveled far and wide with the gospel message, often just a step ahead of his pursuers. He remained stalwart in his faith and thankful to God despite difficult and discouraging circumstances. Paul said he was okay with all of it! He knew he could count on God.
We can, too.
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31
What a great promise! That’s enough to make anyone thankful, eh? Especially when we consider the circumstances. God was getting ready to deliver big on the promised land for his chosen people. He asked mighty Moses to step aside. He asked Joshua to step up. He asked the people to follow. He asked them to go into enemy territory and take possession of the land. He closed the deal by promising that he, God himself, would go ahead to ensure their well-being.
The crazy part is that God did all of that knowing these fickle people so well! He and Moses had heard all of their grumbling and complaining. They had spurned God time and again. God said there was only more of the same ahead. He said they would become fat and complacent with all that milk and honey. He said they would turn from Him and worship false gods. In all of that God was right. But he kept his promises anyway.
I started the day thinking about all of the things I’m thankful for — and there are lots. The Hubs. Our chids. GLAMbabes! Sisters. Friends like family. Family like friends. An education. A comfortable home. Clean water in the pipes. Hot water on demand. Food in the pantry. Fuel in the tank. Warm clothes. A good job working with good people. Traveling the world ’round. Sunsets and sunrises. For those and a gazillion other undeserved gifts, I am thankful.
I know God loves to give good gifts to his children. I’m glad about that. But today I recognize that the very best gift of all is His faithful love. How is it that He puts up with the likes of me? For that I am thankful, indeed.
~ René Morley
P.S. Thankful people have an uplifting affect on all those around. A personal gratitude journal is a great way to develop the discipline. Thankful for… makes it easy! When I’m in a slump, I drop in on the world’s thanksgiving stream.