Thanksgiving is a time we “normally” would gather with family and friends. A time to reach out, hugging those we love, and gather around a table laden to overflowing with seasonal goodness—a time to love, laugh and simply share life together.
Through the years, for most of us, Thanksgiving has probably been, for the most part, just Thanksgiving as usual. However, this year, many of our foundations having been shaken, our normal has been altered, and “life as usual” is un-usual, to say the least!
At its core, though, Thanksgiving Day is all about having a thankful heart, no matter our circumstances. We shouldn’t… we can’t lose sight of that! We’re the ones who are frustrated and suffer when we do.
I learned this lesson painfully last year when early Thanksgiving afternoon, I was riding a scooter with my children and had an accident, crushed both wrists, hit my head, broke a tooth, and banged up my knee. I spent the rest of Thanksgiving Day in the hospital. That day was filled with excruciating pain accompanied by profound disappointment. Our Thanksgiving meal was ruined, our family time was ruined, and Thanksgiving was ruined.
Immediately I focused on all my losses, the plans to finish remodeling our bathroom, plans for our family Christmas, and the responsibilities of my job. The days that followed were some of the most challenging days I have ever experienced. With casts from my fingers to above both elbows, I could do nothing for myself.
I quickly realized that focusing on my lack was not helping. So I shifted my thinking. I shifted my focus! I began to pray and ask God to not let me miss what He had for me through this time. What a crazy but perfect place to be…helpless, desperate, needy…when we can’t “fix” it! My prayers were desperate, not that He’d change my circumstances, but for God to show up big right there in the middle of my mess.
I prayed this prayer. “Lord, what can I do?” He reminded me I could “focus” on Him. I could focus on being thankful for who He is, His plan for my Life, His provision for my salvation – FOR sending us a savior who is…CHRIST THE LORD! I should open my eyes big to see what He was doing around me, in me, and through me during this painful season.
I knew that I still lacked nothing in Christ even without the use of my arms for weeks. But first, I had to die to how I thought things should be. I had to die to my Thanksgiving plans, my Christmas plans, my remodeling plans, and start to focus on what I had to be thankful for; family, friends, caregivers, and the goodness of my Father God.
1. Focusing on thankfulness, giving thanks to Him and those around us sets our hearts free to love, embrace, and enjoy what God has already provided.
2. Having a thankful heart, an attitude of gratitude helps us adjust our perspective on life as “we” think it “should” be.
While watching a video recently, I heard Max Lucado say, “God intended us to live a life of calm, not chaos, and of peace, not panic.”
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation], by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God!” No matter our circumstances at Thanksgiving time this year – we can and should be thankful to God in all things.
James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
2 Peter 1:2-3 “Grace the peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”
This year, no matter whether your Thanksgiving looks the same or drastically different, let’s stand together and not focus on the lie of lack. Lack says, “I am doing without!” “I don’t have enough” “My needs are not being met.” None of that is true! He’s given us everything we need!
Let’s focus our expectations on the Lord our God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
Let’s express our thankfulness for all that He has and is blessing us with! From your heart or, better yet, from your lips, express your thankfulness during this season of Thanksgiving. Express your gratefulness for all He has done to provide for you and your loved ones this chaotic year!!
And then, no matter how we celebrate, whether we can come together physically or not, let’s celebrate together His goodness in abundance! A thankful heart can open doors that we didn’t even know were there!
Sit down and express your heart of thankfulness, in a note or card, to someone, or several; He’s blessed you by putting them in your life. Let them know you love them, are grateful for the gift of your relationship, and that you thank God for them! Write down your blessings and post them where you can see them all month long. So whether I sit down to turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes… on Thanksgiving Day with family and friends or not this year, I am so very thankful for them and for Christ and His abundant blessings every day. I am grateful for those I love that live far and near. I am very grateful to have full use of my hands this year!
Blessings, dear one, and a very blessed Thanksgiving Day to you. This just might be the very best Thanksgiving season you’ve ever experienced because of what takes place deep in your heart & spirit.
~ Marsha Sites McKeegan
Mary & Martha