Psalm 100:4 –Enter His gates with thanksgivingand His courts with praise.Give thanks to Him and praise His name. (HCSB)
I have so many things to be thankful for, not just this week with a day named Thanksgiving but every week. I am thankful for God’s love, thankful that He is merciful and forgiving; thankful that He sacrificed His Son for me, and thankful that He listens to my prayers. I am thankful for my Godly husband who encourages me, supports me, and loves me. I am thankful for our hardworking son and thankful for the daughter he brought us by marriage. I am thankful for our two amazing grandchildren who each have a special “Granny suggah spot” and I love them both a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck! I am thankful for my extended family, although they can be a little fudgy – sweet, somewhat nutty, and at times give me a stomachache – they are still mine and I love them. I am thankful for my two grandmothers, both strong women who lived out the love of God. I understand things as an adult that I took for granted as a child, and I appreciate more every day the lives they lived and the sacrifices they made. I am thankful for friends who laugh with me, cry with me, hold my hand, and hug my neck. I am thankful for people who get the humor in sarcasm. I am thankful for social media sites that allow me to have “old” friends in my life again. I am thankful for people who have a working knowledge of contractions (your and you’re are NOT interchangeable). I am thankful for my small group class at church and the way we love and support each other. I am thankful for my church family and feel privileged to be a part of such a great group of people. I am thankful for praying people in my life. I am thankful that I live in the United States of America. I am thankful for the house that is our home. I am thankful for warm temperatures, sandy toes by the ocean, and colorful sunsets. I am thankful that Jesus loves me and that I can freely know His love by reading my Bible and listening to ministers who speak God’s truth. Joseph B. Wirthlin summed it all up with “I give thanks to my Creator for this wonderful life where each of us has the opportunity to learn lessons we could not full comprehend by any other means.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (HCSB)
1 Chronicles 16:34 – Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. (HCSB)
I was having coffee with my friends and listening to them tell about their plans for Thanksgiving. The thought came to me that when most people think of Thanksgiving, they think of weeks of preparation that concludes with a day of the family gathering to eat too much. Thanksgiving should be more than a day of eating; it should be a life of giving thanks with true gratitude. So many times “giving thanks” is a term used to describe a rote prayer said before meals, words recited quickly without meaning. My father prayed before every meal – to this day I have no clue as to what he said! True thanksgiving is true gratitude, and gratitude is actually good for us! Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University, is quoted as saying “If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.” I read that researchers at Baylor University found that gratitude leads directly to feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. I take that to mean that I need to wake up every morning being thankful, not that my life is perfect by earthly standards, not that I own more than enough possessions, not that I have all that I think I need but because I have decided to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Focusing on what I don’t have leads to self-pity, resentment, and bitterness. Focusing on the blessings in my life leads to contentment, joy, and gratitude. I think of the Pilgrims and their hardships, yet they chose to give thanks. I heard someone say that we should not focus on the glass being half empty or half full; we should be thankful that we have a glass at all. Practicing gratitude doesn’t cost me anything but can make such a difference in my life. John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” Father, I just want to stop and say “thank You.” I pray that I will live out the gratitude I have to You and to others. Lord, I sincerely give thanks for all that I have and especially for the love You show to me every day.