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Thankful Every Day
With the season to give thanks upon us, now is an opportune time to reflect on what it means to be truly thankful. With so much happening in the news that causes us distress or dismay, it can be easy to focus on what’s ‘wrong’ instead of the many things that are ‘right.’
While we tend to think of Thanksgiving as just one day each year, why not cultivate a practice of thanksgiving every day? With thankfulness, there is hope – a very important mindset to have when the world seems uncertain.
With that in mind, we wanted to offer some thoughts on thankfulness in preparation for the holiday season.
Reflect on how far we’ve come and the abundance of our modern society.
According to The History Channel
, the first Thanksgiving did not take place in easy times. After suffering from exposure, malnutrition, scurvy, and outbreaks of contagious disease, the early colonists had to learn how to grow corn, catch fish, and extract sap from maple trees with the help of kindly local Native Americans. After the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast in November 1621. Historical accounts indicate that America’s “first Thanksgiving” may have included fowl, venison, and other dishes prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. With sugar in short supply, there were none of the cakes and pies we look forward to having today at our family tables.
Fast forward to the 21st century. We not only have an abundance of fresh food; we have nearly limitless choices for what we eat and where we shop. We can even order our meals online or through an app on our phones! If you stop and think about everything, even the smallest conveniences, that make it possible for us to live our lives comfortably, we indeed have much for which to be thankful.
Thankfulness is an important spiritual practice.
Thankfulness has been defined as a mental and/or verbal expression of one's acknowledgment and appreciation of God's person, His grace, blessings, and sovereign work in one's life and the world. Blogger Mark D. Roberts
says, “I would argue that giving thanks to God is important because it honors God. But, there is also case for gratitude that doesn’t depend on biblical theology. In fact, it appeals to common sense and even self-interest. To put the matter bluntly: Gratitude will improve your life.”
The Bible tells us that thankfulness stems from realizing that everything going on in our lives and all that we have is the product of God's sovereign control, infinite wisdom, purposes, grace, and activity (2 Corinthians 4:15).
In contrast, thanklessness can be destructive. In his series “Paul's Letter to the Colossians: An Exegetical and Devotional Commentary
,” author Hampton Keathley III describes thanklessness as, “dangerous to the self and others by leading to bitterness, complaining, and a joyless life. Thanklessness promotes pettiness and preoccupation with self, other people, and problems, which in turn creates depression and feelings of hopelessness.” We believe choosing thankfulness is good for the soul!
Traditions don’t have to be grand to be meaningful.
Roberts goes on to say in his reflections about Thanksgiving that he once spent a rather lavish one in New York City. He watched the Macy’s parade and later had a fancy meal at a famous hotel. “But, no matter the grandeur of that Thanksgiving meal, it still wasn’t quite right. After all, for me, the heart of my Thanksgiving holiday was about sharing a day with family, and mine was 3,000 miles away in Southern California,” he says. “The best tasting turkey in the most opulent dining room didn’t satisfy the real longing of my heart – to be home.”
we’re doing for the holiday – cooking everyone’s favorite dishes perfectly, having a spotless home, hosting and entertaining – let us remember
we’re doing it. If you’re fortunate enough to have loved ones sharing your Thanksgiving table, don’t forget to be grateful for their presence and what they mean to you.
Whether you’re at home or traveling this Thanksgiving, we hope that you’re blessed with an abundantly thankful heart that you can cultivate long after the turkey is gone.
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