Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts 2009

Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth. (1 Chronicles 16:7-12)

By the time you read this, you will either be getting ready for Thanksgiving, or getting over it. My prayer for you is that you remember the many blessings that God has given you in the past year. Those who know Jesus Christ have more to be thankful for than any, because regardless of our circumstances, we know we have a Heavenly Father who loves us.

As so many of you have heard me say before, Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday. There are no presents to give or receive, family and friends is the most important element, and most of all, it is deliberately designed to give thanks to God for His goodness.

Just as with all the other holidays, Thanksgiving has been commercialized with more focus on turkeys, football, and going through store ads in anticipation of after Thanksgiving sales, than on truly being grateful for God’s goodness. Some even view the traditional family gathering as a hassle and interruption to routine and schedules. Johnny Carson once said, “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.”

The reality of the holiday is that it really doesn’t matter if you sit down to a great feast or have many family members and friends to celebrate with. For many people, Thanksgiving can be meaningful by truly being grateful for the ham sandwich that you are eating alone. In fact, Thanksgiving should be something we celebrate each day as we spend time with God.

As I have taken time to ponder God’s blessings to my family this year, I came upon some questions I put forth in a column from several years ago. I thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone, including myself, of these questions to help us all get a great picture of how God has moved in our lives in the past year.

  • What were the major events that took place in your family this year?
    • Thank God for the milestones that bring us out of routine days.
  • Did your family grow in number, through weddings or births?
    • Express your gratitude to our Heavenly Father for new additions and pray for guidance in being a role model for them in your Christian walk.
  • Did you experience the loss of a loved one?
    • If not, give thanks to God for allowing you another year to be together. Don’t miss the opportunity to tell them how much you love and appreciate them.
    • If so, thank God for the time you had together, the memories of times you shared, and the promise of a great day when you will all be together forever.
  • Did your family experience hard times?
    • If so, consider what you learned from each situation and thank God for His instruction and guidance.
  • Who are the members of your family?
    • Name one quality that you’re thankful for in each person.

If you will take the time to answer these questions, it may change the way you view your blessings and give you a structured way to truly give thanks to God in whatever your circumstances are.

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:11-13, 19-20 NIV)

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