Giving Thanks After Thanksgiving
The long awaited Thanksgiving Day arrives and we have fun with family and friends. Of course there are always a few misunderstandings along the way, but on the whole it is a wonderful day filled with joy, laughter and yes, thanksgiving.
Then Sunday approaches and everyone leaves to go back home. All the apprehension of hosting guests or travelling is now replaced with a sense of emptiness. The house that was filled with children’s laughter is now very silent. Those of us who always feel hard pressed for time now feel like “What can I do today? It is so quiet here now. “
Instead of sinking into the mini blues and depression, this year I decided to continue to give thanks, for all that we take for granted. I’ve realized that a spirit of gratitude is the antidote to fear and the sense of feeling sorry for one’s self, for all that we don’t have. So here are a few thoughts to spur you on in an attitude of gratitude.
1. Give thanks for the gift of family.
We take our family and friends so much for granted. We are quick to point out to our kids all that they have not done, all the expectations that we have placed on them that they can’t live up to sometimes. This season, let’s thank God for the gift of family. For those children who argue and fight and sometimes disobey us. It adds spice to life and gives us something to talk about when all the tempers have cooled down. We are blessed with people who have been put into our lives for various reasons. Friends who support us at our lowest. Friends who are honest with us, when others are afraid to say anything and family and friends who fill us with laughter.
2, Give thanks for the food we eat.
After Thanksgiving, one concern than many of us share, is the weight we gained during all the festivities. I don’t know about you but I stress out so much about it. This morning one of my son’s said “Mommy, I’m so tired of you complaining about weight and you are really not that big. You don’t sound confident when you do that.” The irony of it all is that the stress if anything worsens the situation and makes us eat more. Rather than complain about the result, thank God for the food we were able to enjoy. (Some people after all simply don’t have enough to eat.) Resolve to do better at Christmas.
3. Give thanks for good health.
You only have to turn on the TV these days, to hear about a child or someone famous, who is suffering from a chronic illness or cancer. Yet for those of us who are healthy, all we do is complain about being too tall, too thin, too heavy etc. Yes, even when our body is less than perfect we must remember to be thankful for our eyes to see, our ears to hear, for the fact that we can get up every day and have the strength and energy to go to work. We are truly blessed.
4. For the jobs we have, we thank God.
After the long holiday weekend, we are almost filled with dread at the thought of going back to work. Most people suffer from the Sunday blues, and I get it.
But here again, there is so much to be thankful for. After the long recession we had, we really should be thankful that we do have jobs to go to. Remember when there were no jobs and at job interviews you were willing to do anything, just to have a job. So let’s really give thanks for the jobs we have that enable us to be able to spend time with family, to buy Christmas gifts for our kids and afford us all the luxuries we enjoy.
5. Give thanks for the opportunity to help others.
I have heard it said so many times, that giving blesses the giver as much as, if not more than the receiver. So rather than be annoyed at the Salvation Army volunteer, just take a minute to give “a little something” if you can afford it. Nothing beats that warm glow you feel, when someone says “thank you, God bless you” for something that you did for them. It is heartwarming to take time to call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long while, and the first thing they say is “ I was thinking about you, I’m so glad you called.” Let’s take time to also let our friends and family know that we are thankful for them and for the joy they bring to us.
Thanksgiving is over, but as we prepare for Christmas, let’s continue to give thanks and remember the real spirit of Christmas. It’s not about shopping and the biggest discounts we can get. It’s all about gratitude and giving thanks to God for our very lives, our health, our family and friends, our jobs, the food we get to eat, and the opportunity to be a blessing to others. Let’s focus on what we do have, rather than what we don’t have.
As Zig Ziglar said, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. “