Giving Thanks

Happy ThanksgivingToday is the day before Thanksgiving. As I write this I am reminded of all the things that have happened this year for which I am thankful. Some were personal, some were financial and some were in the lives of my friends and loved ones. It has been quite a year for me and I hope that it has been a great one for you as well. Of course, we all have had our down times and even times of sorrow, but we made it through them. I know that most people take this time of reflection at the end of the year but to me Thanksgiving is a special time of reflection and of giving thanks.

Like most families we will take some time to get together, have a great meal and spend some time being thankful. This year it will be the day after Thanksgiving as that is when it will be easier for us to all get together. Many people will be out shopping that day but if I do any it will be online as I hate to get out in the crowds. Besides, that time with family is too precious to give up. We all have separate lives that keep us busy away from each other on most days. There comes a time when you need to just be together.

I don’t think that as a nation we spend enough time just being thankful. We see this tragedy and that horrible newsworthy thing happening and sometimes we get too distracted by such things. Sometimes we need to just take stock of the good things that are happening right under our noses. If we live our lives in gratitude for all the blessings of life, then the bad things can be taken with better perspective. There will always be bad things happening in the world as it stands right now.

Haven’t you noticed that when people have lost their  homes and other possessions from tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes or whatever… that they usually come out of it with thankful hearts that their families survived? Usually there would be someone stating that the house could be rebuilt but their family was okay and so they would move forward. When things have been stripped away from you, that is the time when you realize what is most important in life. It is not possessions, it is people and your relationship with God above.

I have seen tragedy strike causing different people to respond very differently to the same circumstance. One person will be thankful that things were not worse and they make plans to move on to better things. Another will respond by being angry at some other person or even God. As long as that anger remains they will never be at peace. I have seen lives completely ruined because someone suffered a loss and could not forgive whomever it was that they personally blamed. Life is going to go on with or without you. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life in misery?

I have suffered losses in my life as well. Fortunately for me, I was taught to be thankful for what I still have and for those times I had with those who  are now gone. Surely, I have suffered from grief too. At times that grief has lingered for longer than I would like. But, I was also taught to trust in the living God and that He will guide me in all my ways if I will just trust in Him. I don’t have to understand it all. He can see the big picture. I can only see in part. So I do indeed simply trust in Him.

I hope that where ever you are when you read this that your life has not been struck by some tragedy. But if it has, please know that there is a God who cares and will help you move forward. This Thanksgiving and holiday season remember to go through it with a heart of gratitude. Remember those who are less fortunate. Find some way to help them. Sometimes it takes very little effort on your part to make the day much better for someone else.

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