…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)
Do we give thanks for everything? That’s a pretty tall order! In this season of thanksgiving, some of us may not feel all that thankful. I have a wonderful friend who, in an eloquent blog post, expressed his frustration in his own lack of gratitude. Life was hard. Finances were lacking, dreams were unrealized, and it seemed as if everyone else was better off than he was. He wanted to appreciate what he had, but the feelings just weren’t coming.
There are many reasons we can find ourselves struggling to be thankful. In my friend’s case, I could immediately see several areas where some unsolicited advice might help.
Have you ever gone out of your way to do something nice for someone, only to have them reject it? Or even worse, criticize you for it? Or perhaps someone wanting a favor came and demanded it of you, instead of asking nicely. Doesn’t feel very good, does it? Continue reading →
(I decided to post something a day early, because I wanted to share this in time for Thanksgiving Day.)
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s not about the feast, although I adore turkey, stuffing, and all the accompaniments. It’s not about the football, even though I enjoy a good game every so often.It’s not even about getting together with loved ones, although I treasure any time I spend with our daughters and their families.
Thanksgiving. More and more, we’re calling it “Turkey Day.” Is Thanksgiving a holiday about eating as much turkey, stuffing, and pie as we can possibly handle? Has this holiday, like so many others, become so fixed on staying busy, keeping up our traditions, watching football, and buying stuff that we’re missing the point?
For the past few years my dad wasn’t well enough to travel, so we hosted Thanksgiving at our house. We invited friends, family, whoever needed a place to land, and I cleaned and shopped and cooked. Numbers varied, but we usually ended up with a dozen guests crowded around our table built for six. Somehow we made it work.
What are you thankful for? We usually ask that question in November, and here it is June. More often than the answer includes our family, our friends, our good (if it is good) health, perhaps a special possession or two.
After a week or more of evacuations, fire, and loss, many here are incredibly grateful to God, and to the firefighters and other first responders who risked their lives on our behalf. Everywhere you look, there are signs of thanksgiving. I mean that literally.
A friend of mine recently commented about how, with Thanksgiving coming, she is trying to learn to thank God even for “the hard stuff.” She’s basing her belief on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
There’s no doubt that Christians are supposed to be a grateful people. There is so much to thank God for—his love, mercy, righteousness and goodness, our salvation, one another, his coming reign on earth, answered prayers, not to mention the endless blessings he bestows on us day by day, often ones we hadn’t even thought to ask for. For example, when’s the last time we thanked God for the air that we breathe? We hardly ever think about air, unless we’re in danger of suffocation or drowning!
Well, technically they’re cattle… (in this case) cows and steers destined to be T-bone steaks and meatloaf. Forgive me if I call them all cows; it’s just easier.
For the past 18 years, we’ve lived on five acres just outside the city limits, across the street from a good-sized piece of undeveloped land. While our property is mostly Ponderosas with some grass, the spread we look out on is mostly short-grass prairie with a few trees. It’s been owned by a series of developers. I’m sure they have plans for high-density housing and strip malls, but one good side of the bad economy is that no bulldozers have yet arrived to spoil the peace and quiet of our country spot.
That’s not to say I’ve got it perfect and that I always rejoice in God’s choices for my life. Rather, I’m finally old enough to have some perspective. (There has to be some benefit to getting old!) I’ve learned that what I might not like at the moment may be critical to my well-being later.
It’s sort of like getting a tetanus shot. No one enjoys being stabbed by the needle, and suffering the sore arm afterwards, but we’re willing to put up with the discomfort because tetanus is much worse.