Since later today and all day tomorrow, I will be a cooking fool, I wanted to offer you a Thanksgiving blessing:
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with Thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through
Thanksgiving is a time when we stand at a crossroad...a fork in the road if you will. We can choose to take the low road of dwelling on our misery, or we can take the high road of seeking out, and thanking God for our many blessings.
Make no mistake, however, that Thanksgiving and Christmas can be two of the most difficult holidays to bear. In this world blessings and sorrows are intermingled and holidays can bring to mind the losses we have experienced in our lives. God does not ask us to stuff those feelings or to pretend they don't exist. Quite the opposite, He wants us to raise our pain and our petitions before Him. The only thing He asks is that we do so with a heart of thanksgiving.
Even if everything in our world seems bleak and full of pain...there is still one blessing that we can give thanks for. That blessing is that God, in His awesome love and power, has given us the gift of life eternal in paradise with Him...all we need to do is to accept this blessing with a grateful heart.
In an attempt to help you focus on God's many blessings this year, I offer you some exercises in gratitude that will get you heading on the high road.
Thanksgiving Walk: This Thanksgiving, take yourself on a walk alone. Whether you go around the block or on a several mile hike. While you walk thank and praise God for all the blessings you can think of (small or big). Your mind will wander, but gently bring it back to the task at hand and as you walk and continually thank Him, I believe you will experience His peace.
Thanksgiving Going Forward: Don't look at Thanksgiving as the conclusion of the race. Instead use it as a stepping off point. Write down a list of all the people in your life that you are thankful for. Starting now, and over the next several months, commit to writing and mailing (yes, snail mail) short notes to each person on the list - letting them know that you are thankful for them being in your life. My daughter did this and I received a random note one day thanking me for being special to her...well let's just say it made my week!!
Pay It Forward: Thank God for the core blessings you have - a warm bed to sleep in, a roof over your head, food, clothing, etc. Then pay it forward. Do a good deed for someone else. Pay for the latte for the person behind you in the Starbucks drive through. Bend down and pick something up for a stranger. Have fun with creative ways to bless others.
If you would like a very tangible way to pay if forward and give thanks...I could still REALLY use financial help with bringing the blessing of Christmas to the children who have found refuge from the streets, hard labor, human trafficking at Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan.
First Christmas Gift Ever: For most of the children, this will be the first and only Christmas gift they will receive. We may take for granted a pair of shoes or a warm piece of clothing in the cold, but these children do not have that luxury. Will you consider sending a modest donation to cover the cost of one child for a gift and a warm Christmas meal ($20. suggested, but ANY gift amount helps!!)
Deadline Dec. 8th: In order to make preparations, I need to get donations by this date. If you are moved to help...
Make checks payable and send to:
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC 27513
Thank you in advance. And now I pray for you and all my readers that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding would be with you this and every day. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving and may it be just the beginning of a lifetime of offering up thanks. We are the ones who are truly blessed whenever we give thanks!!!
In His love,
ps. I have a sensitive heart to those who deal with depression and I know just how difficult it can be when the "gray glasses" are on to give thanks and to see your blessings. Know that God has a tender spot in His loving heart for you. Sending a special prayer your way...