As you woke up this morning, were you more grateful for the blessings in your life than on other days? Maybe we are more aware of these things, just because we are reminded to give thanks for them. Or does today also make you more aware of the troubles you face as well, believing everyone else has it better than you. Or likely some combination of both. Each year, we have this holiday that reminds us to be thankful for what we have, but does it work? Do most people truly pause to consider how blessed they are and to give thanks for these things? We look over the past year and many describe 2020 as ‘a year to get through’ and statements stating they will be glad when it is over, when we look at the worst this year had to offer. And it has been a difficult year in many respects with the presence of Covid, the challenges to our economy and daily routines, wildfires, polarizing politics, racial unrest, and we are not done yet. But despite these challenges, can we still be thankful?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Our nation once celebrated Thanksgiving in the middle of a Civil War, so do you think they were more aware of the blessings and challenges in their lives at that time? Each year, I read, or re-read a bit about the History of Thanksgiving in America and am often astounded at how much the discussion and influence of God was in public discourse, and a desire to still give thanks regardless of the challenges each year held, such as this excerpt:
As President, on October 3, 1789, George Washington made the following proclamation and created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States of America:
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Each year is a mixed bag of blessings and curses and what we choose to dwell on influences our outlook on life, and the attitude we hold each day. Today, and every day we wake up, we can choose to be thankful for the things we have, or we can be selfish and entitled, believing we deserve something more. In America, if you are reading this, we really have it pretty good, and have much to be grateful for. And honestly, I’ve found the most grateful people in ‘third world’ countries where comparatively they have much less than us materially, but place much more value in relationships and in the God they serve. We can choose to wallow in our woes, or celebrate the blessings, regardless if they type of year we have had. Giving thanks in all circumstances really does change your heart, to be one that God desires for you. Let us give thanks for Him to continue this good work in us!
A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:1-5
Yours in Christ, with Thanksgiving,