“4 reasons I don’t like Thanksgiving.”
Five words you will NEVER hear me say.
(five, because one was a number. For those of you who thought I had trouble with math. I do, but that’s beside the point).
Thanksgiving and Christmas win the contest for being my top favorite holidays of the year. (And trust me, you’ll get an entire Christmas email closer to the day!)
Yesterday we celebrated a day full of food, family, and fun. We set apart time to think extra hard about what we were thankful for.
I enjoyed reading posts by friends and family yesterday! I especially appreciated a certain post I read....
As one friend put it:
“I didn't sleep under a bridge last night
I'm not headed to the funeral home to make arrangements for a loved one.
I'm not sitting at the Pediatric Cancer ward of Scottish Rite Hospital where my child lays in a bed with no hair and dark rings around their eyes from Chemotherapy.
I'm not headed over to the prison to talk to my child or spouse through a glass.
My spouse is not laying in an ICU bed with wires hooked up to her, breathing with a Ventilator.
I will not be scrounging through a dumpster to find my Thanksgiving meal.
I am not out searching the streets for my child who is a meth addict.
I'm not standing in ruins where a Hurricane destroyed my home and town.
No bombs or gunfire in the streets woke me up from my sleep last night.
A state patrol officer did not come to my door last night with bad news.
My phone did not ring at 3am with more bad news.
Our doctor did not come into a room with the results of an MRI with even MORE bad news!
I'm not sitting in a wheel chair typing this.
I am NOT a sad person who knows nothing about the love, joy, grace and hope that comes with having a true, wonderful, joyful relationship with Jesus Christ!
Hmmmm.....yeah.....I'm sure of it....I am blessed....and I have MUCH to be thankful for today, and everyday.”
That was well said. Because we DO have a lot to be thankful for!
Being thankful for one day a year is great and all, but the heart of gratitude we all had yesterday? It should be the heart we have all year around.
Which, trust me, I know, it can be tough.
As most of you know, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness last month. I have a lot of reasons to complain lately. Almost constant nausea, daily headaches, fatigue, body aches, countless appointments, needles and tests. I could go on.
But instead of grumbling, instead of complaining, (which only makes matters worse!) how much better is it to have a heart of thanksgiving?
I have hundreds of reasons to be thankful. Even amidst the health issues, even reasons I’m thankful BECAUSE of it.
I can be thankful that:
- I don’t have cancer. (For a few anxiety-filled days last month, we weren’t sure.)
- That I’m not in a wheelchair.
- For the good days that my symptoms aren’t as severe.
- That my headaches aren’t as frequent.
- That my nausea isn’t as bad as it has been.
- For an illness that’s treatable.
- That I’m doing better than I was a couple of months ago.
- For the lessons He’s teaching me through the pain.
- For newfound friends He brought along to walk with me during this journey.
- For wonderful doctors.
Is it always easy to have a thankful heart? No. I wish it was, but it isn’t. I think God knew that. He knew it wasn’t our natural tendency to be joyful and thankful all the time. That’s why He reminds us over and over and over again to be thankful. That’s why there are countless Psalms on “giving thanks to the Lord.”
I’ve compiled a few of my favorite verses below:
"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever." (1 Chronicles 16:34)
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (Colossians 3:15)
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name." (Psalm 100:4)
"Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever." (Psalm 106:1)
3 Tips for Cultivating a Thankful Heart
- Think about what you do have. (Instead of thinking about what He’s taken away, think instead on what He’s GIVEN you! You’ll soon find that your blessings outweigh all the negativity everywhere else.)
- Remind yourself that it could always be worse. (Think about a friend who’s going through an even tougher time. Or a mother who recently lost her son. A wife who lost her husband. This doesn’t undermine your own pain, but take a minute to think and pray for these people. It always helps to bring things into perspective a bit, and makes it easier to have a thankful heart!)
- Think about the future. (If you followed the two steps above and never found a single blessing, couldn't think of a single person who is having a harder time than you, (which I think I can speak for all of us when I say that most likely won't be the case!) then think about where you're going to be for eternity. Think about the days of endless joy and happiness, and praise. A place with no tears and no pain. Ponder the fact that God sent His ONLY Son to die in our place so that we could experience this eternal glory.)
Lastly, I want to leave you with one of my favorite short videos. It's Christmas (but then again, Thanksgiving is over so we can all start singing Christmas songs now, right?) but it's so neat and gives us a great perspective that everything is a gift! WE HAVE SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR!
Did you have a good Thanksgiving yesterday? What was your favorite part?
I saw a neat post asking people to list one negative thing they're thankful for this year. Let me know in the comments what yours is! What is one hard, negative, thing that you're thankful for? What is it teaching you?
Until next time, friends! Let's keep our lights shining for Christ. <3