What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Are you thankful?
Each Thanksgiving it’s good to take stock of all we have to be thankful for in the midst of all the hoopla of the weekend—food, family, friends, football, and Black Friday.
Sadly, a holiday set aside for national gratitude and reflection has been usurped. It's typically referred to as Turkey-Day and become an excuse for excessive eating, spending, football watching, and beer drinking.
It's easy to become cynical and pessimistic about the state of our nation and the world around us. Inevitably, this breeds the same in our heart and mind, permeates our thinking, and leaks out through our words.
The only solution is a resolve to choose to be thankful—grateful for what is good in our life.
A little history
This was the intent of the first national observance by President George Washington and the proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. The observance of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November was set in 1941 by an act of Congress and there’s much more to the history of Thanksgiving in America.
Perhaps it's my 60's-era perception of it, but it seems like the whole weekend has become way too focused on materialistic pursuits.
Black Friday used to start at 5:00 am but now it starts at midnight, maybe even earlier. The weekend bargains are capped-off with Cyber Monday. Sadly, I must admit, I'm not immune to it. But it still bothers me to be so preoccupied and seduced by it all.
I choose to be grateful
Sad, mad, or glad? It's a choice. So, I'll choose to be glad through gratefulness.
Some of my favorite verses in the Bible on thankfulness are found in Colossians 3:15-17. I’m intrigued how within each admonition of these three verses (in most versions) is the exhortation to be thankful. And a practical element of these verses speaks to how we are made.
In the margin of my Bible I wrote three words— heart, mind, and body.
Thankfulness in Heart, Mind, and Body
Heart— The encouragement of verse 15 is to let the Lord's peace rule—like a football referee—in our heart and be thankful.
Mind— The next verse admonishes us to let God's Word dwell—live in and permeate—our thoughts in a full and deep way. And don't forget—with thankfulness!
Body— And finally, whatever you do—words, deeds, actions—do it so God is honored in your life example. Again, do it with thankfulness.
This isn't a self-help formula. It says "let…"—allow this attitude to govern and prevail in your heart, mind, and actions. It's a choice. You can choose to be thankful every day not just one day out of the year!
What input do you choose for what rules your heart, mind, and actions? The kingdom of the world around you or God's kingdom? Cynicism or thankfulness?
I know what I choose, especially when I find myself drifting into the prison of pessimism—I choose the prism of praise. It's healthier and much more fun.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col 3:15-17 NIV84)