A Time of Thanksgiving

Well, with this week being the time leading not only into Thanksgiving but also Black Friday and Christmas shopping, it should be a natural thing to write about all the things I and we all should be thankful for.

I’m sure there will be plenty of news coming when on Friday we see a few who turn the day after giving thanks into a cringe worthy free for all brawl at any electronics and toy department.  I find it amazing year after year that people turn into thugs and act worse than any two year old having a tantrum melt down. But such is giving for the season of the birth of our Savior- He came to save them too.

I can’t help but remember posting a message from Open Doors this past Saturday about the transformation of hearts that are turning to Jesus in Syria. Whenever I read about the many who are coming to know Christ in other parts of the world, and those Christians who are being persecuted in real and violent ways, one recurring message runs through all of the stories…. that of thanks and gratitude.

“‘Thank God for the war in Syria, it brought us to Jesus.’”

Can we in the west imagine giving thanks to God for something so brutal as war and suffering?  I would venture a guess and say no.

Too many times have Christians in the west lived and made choices to be comfortable and maintain a lifestyle that millions of people around the world could never imagine. Yet in all our comfortableness, comes complacency- and maybe even ingratitude.

I don’t say this as a mean accusation, but more of something to remind us that living in a society where advertising constantly tells us “You deserve” a break, to buy that special thing, to own that car, that house, to take that vacation you always dreamed about. Or even to live where you had peace and contentment among the swamp and chickens…

Adversity usually brings a different perspective on life and even on what comes next. For many, it teaches us that this world, this life is temporary and that there are a lot more important things than our peace and comfort. And way more important than “having it all”.  It’s interesting that many of you and others I know who don’t have anywhere near what the world considers  “it all” yet, seem to be some of the most content people I know.

The Bible has many verses on giving thanks- and not just for one day of the year so we can eat a big turkey dinner.  In Psalms alone there are at least 22 verses just with the phrase “give thanks”.  Mostly on the goodness and mercy of God, but later verses such as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 remind us that it is in the Lord’s will that we give thanks in any circumstance- In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

It’s kind of hard to remember to give thanks when everything is going good and trouble free. You ever notice that?

It always amazed me how Paul could be so positive in his messages when we know he had gone through so much, and by the time he knew his end- he still encouraged others. Just like Jesus.

This week, I’ve got a lot on my mind, as Wednesday it will be three years since Michael passed away. But in spite of things, I have so much to be grateful for- even with his death. He didn’t suffer months of pain, our son didn’t have to see him completely waste away with ongoing illness.  And though, I’m not in the place I want to be, God is present and actively working in my life as I go through things. All the rest He has seen fit to help and bless me with is just added grace and Thank You Lord for all of it.

I hope everyone has a blessed Monday.We all have so much to be thankful for.