Well Thanksgiving is only weeks away and we are gearing up for that day of feasting and family gatherings. For most of us it entails deciding where and with whom we will celebrate. Will I stay home and cook? Or will I travel a short distance and celebrate with family? Or might I consider hopping on a plane to see my loved ones far away and celebrate this day of overindulgence in eating and feasting?
For most of us these are the thoughts at the front of our minds. But truly if we want to celebrate the day, we might want to get our minds in a mode of gratitude and thanksgiving. Truly take time to think about some of the things you are thankful for.
In the past, I have posted on Facebook a running list; one thought of thankfulness and gratitude on each day for the entire month of November. But felt ambivalent this year, because at times, it became a reduction of a running list for me. Now mind you, I am grateful for everything I listed, but I felt a change of expression was needed this year.
So, I am using this venue to just share a few things that I am particularly thankful for, beyond the traditional gratitude for family, friends, job, etc…..
This year, 4 things I am grateful for are ….
Each new day that I am given… To wake up in the morning realizing that I have another day to strive to be better, to do better and to maybe continue to work on accomplishing goals is indeed a blessing that I am thankful for. My desire is to continue to learn from my past and strive to be more intentional in my present and future. I still may not be able to accomplish all that I want to do, but I can at least, keep striving to do so. And in retirement, I am learning I do less, because of more time, if you can imagine that. That is something I need to change.
Peace from within…. I am learning to embrace the peace in knowing and understanding that not only is God continuously at work around me, but that He is the source of that peace, that defies circumstances. I have had some challenges this year that have had a profound effect on me. If I did not know the Lord and if I did not seek His peace, I know I would have been in a terrible place emotionally. But instead, I know that whatever life throws at you, whatever hardship that comes your way, trusting God and knowing His Word is your comfort. It is your peace and your guidance to overcoming.
Love… The Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. If you notice I wrote Love with a capital “L” because the type of love I am referring to is not romantic love, even though that in itself is a wonderful love. But the Love I refer to is God’s kind of love. We focus that outward and not inward, as recipients. It is the kind of Love that we are unable to show in our own strength but instead through a growing relationship with Christ. It is not based on circumstances or events, neither is it something you feel as a result of something that happens to you. The kind of Love I am thankful for is the Love that is an attribute of God. The Love that I know that is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered and does not keep record of wrongdoing. This world is becoming such a horrendous, terrible place that when we do see God at work around and through people, we feel joy. I am thankful to be able to experience that Love and feel I am a far better person for knowing it and knowing it is available to all.
And Finally, Hope…. God’s word in Jeremiah 29:11 tells us “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Right there is enough for me to know that God is in control. He has already created me with a purpose and a plan. So I am grateful to know that keeping my hope in him is my road map to abundant living. Material things mean very little. Too many of us are putting our hope in getting the desires of our hearts. Unless that desire is in alignment with God’s Will, we will certainly never fully experience that hope.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving friends and family and recognize your blessings all around you!