The Thanksgiving Holiday is upon us. Each year we recall thegratitude of the colonists who survived their first year in North America – many of their family and friends did not. They gave thanks to God, and shared their thanksgiving with native American friends who had helped them survive.
That original Thanksgiving reminds us of something important. Thanksgiving is not the ‘holiday for the fortunate.’ It’s not just for those for whom everything is going just right.
Thanksgiving is for everybody and for every season of life. It is for those who have family to be with, and those who do not; for those who will eat ’til they could pop, and those who have little to eat; for those whose favorite teams win, and those whose favorite teams lose.
The pilgrims would tell us to be grateful even when things have not gone our way, the way we’d hoped, the way we’d planned. Our lives are, in some sense, a tale of two seasons. One season is external, and determined by our circumstances. The other season is internal, determined by our attitude. We each have issues and struggles, but we can still be grateful. We just have to stop and consider all the good things that surround us.
I’m pretty good about thanking God for His gift of salvation, for my family, and for the staff and leaders I am privileged to work with. This Thanksgiving, I’m stopping to consider even more basic things. When was the last time I gave God thanks for clean water? For the ability to read? For a bed and a roof? For the technology of the telephone? For the availability of music? For the warm feel of a dog’s fur? For opportunities to give, to share, and to be a blessing to someone else?
These are things I am choosing to remember to give God thanks for. Why? Because these are precisely things I have taken for granted.
G.K. Chesterton said, “Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” This Thanksgiving, I want to be grateful for as many things as possible. To do that, I’m going to have to slow down, and look, and think, and smile. And if you are wondering why I would smile, it’s because I’m wondering… wondering how God could create and inspire so many good things for us to enjoy.
I’m going to look around at as many things as I can, and then imitate God, who looked around at His creation in Genesis 1, and said, “This is good!“