Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The turkey is purchased, the cleaning is done (almost!), and the banana bread is in the oven. How can it be this time of year already??
And yet, in the holiday-scheme-of-things, Thanksgiving seems to get lost between all the Halloween activity and the big countdown to Christmas. As much as I like Christmas music, I don’t like to hear radio stations asking listeners for their favorite songs … in early October. I like my holidays in order, thank you very much, and I don’t even want to think about holiday shopping until December!
And so tomorrow, assorted family members will gather at our house for a Thanksgiving meal. Sometime in the last few years, the cooking of the dinner has passed from my Mother to me. Quite a feat for someone whose greatest cooking talent is to make reservations! But the day is more than the food, thankfully. This year we have a new little granddaughter to celebrate. All of us are healthy. We will spend the day playing games, laughing and enjoying being together. Making memories.
But this has also been a tough year for some. The loss of a family member or friend, the loss of a job, illness and hospitalizations, estrangement from family members. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “No matter what happens, be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Or more commonly, “In Everything give thanks …”)
My Study Bible’s explanation of this verse goes like this: “Our joy, our prayers and thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings. 1 Thess. 5:16-17 says, ‘Always be joyful. Keep on praying.’ These instructions – be joyful, keep praying and be thankful – go against our natural inclinations. But when we make a conscious decision to do what God says, we gain a new perspective. Paul was not teaching that we should thank God for everything that happens to us, but in everything. Evil does not come from God. But when evil strikes, we can still be thankful for God’s presence and for the good that he will accomplish through the distress.”
Pastor Bill said, a couple of Sundays ago during his message, that God loves to hear us giving thanks. Between the turkey, pumpkin pie and football games tomorrow, take a few moments to have a little talk with God … to thank Him for all his many blessings …