As Thanksgiving fast approaches I realize that I still have a lot of preparation to do. It seems like last week went by in a jiffy. Now, I start panicking. This year was supposed to be different. I was supposed to be ready and in control. I don’t know about you, but the more stressed out I get, the less I feel like giving thanks. Gratitude quickly goes out the window. And then it hit me. I had a choice to make. I could choose to give thanks for life as is, whilst always striving to be better or I could choose to live a life of stress, always anxious about the perfect life I want, but is sometimes hard to achieve.
And so this day, I choose to give thanks.
1. Giving Thanks for Family and friends
As we sit down to eat our thanksgiving meal with friends and family, let’s thank God for each and every single person, even the people who rub us up the wrong way. I truly believe that everybody is brought into our life for a specific reason, and we can learn something from everyone we come in contact with, if we choose to do so. Look for something good in all the people around you, and give thanks that they are blessing your life in one way or other. Look at the wonderful children you’ve been blessed with. Perhaps they are teaching you to be patient. Or maybe they fill your life with laughter. I’m sure there is a friend or relative you can confide in when you need to talk. There are so many blessings in our own families, if we take the time to look. Stop, look around and give thanks for all the different and wonderful people in your life.
2. Giving Thanks for our jobs
Most people take their jobs for granted. I remember there was a time in my life when all I did was complain about work. Nothing seemed to go right. I was exhausted all the time and dreaded going in to work. Then I had a light bulb moment. I’m at work anyway, so why not make it fun. Think of all the hours we spend at work being surly and ungrateful. Decide to give thanks and have fun. Since my change in attitude, I find I enjoy my job a whole lot more. I thank God for all my coworkers who make me laugh, for those I’ve learned so much from about relationships. I love it when we chat and confide in each other. I thank God for the babies I get to play with every day, even for the sometimes angry and sullen teenagers. It is truly rewarding when we make a difference in their lives. Find something to be grateful for in your job. Remember there are people who wish they could be in your position. Let’s teach our teens it is joyful to live a life of purpose and contribution to the world.
3. Giving thanks for life and health
When we wake up strong and able to go about our daily routines, we should remember to give thanks. Some people did not make it to the next day. Some people have serious medical conditions and yet I find some of the happiest people I know are those who battle serious illness. I have a friend whom I love dearly who has learned to live life fully, one day at a time ever since she developed a serious illness. As she says, “tomorrow is not promised anyone. I’ve learned to live happily every day, never taking anything for granted.” Even in the midst of serious illness we can give thanks for the loving family around us, for the gift of laughter and the strength and life we are given every day. We should learn to give thanks even in death, as hard as that may be. The Bible says “to give thanks in all things.” I know that this is really tough but perhaps we can choose to remember the wonderful things about our loved ones. We can keep their memory alive by remembering and giving thanks for the impact they had in our lives and the lives of other people.
4. Giving thanks for our freedom
We should remember to give thanks for those brave men and women who gave their lives to fight for our freedom. We should teach our teens to never take the freedom we enjoy for granted. We give thanks for those who serve and risk their lives in the armed forces, to ensure our freedom and protection, not only here in America, but fight to obtain freedom for people all over the world. We should give thanks for our freedom of worship and of free speech and the freedom to be who we are no matter our race, color, or religious affiliation.
So, as we sit down to eat our thanksgiving meals, let’s leave all the hustle and bustle behind. It is not about how perfect our meal turns out or how many guests we have at table. It is about giving thanks for our family and friends, for the very food we are about to eat. It’s about thanking God for the very gift of life, and health, for the jobs we get to go to everyday and the freedom we enjoy.
Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 18