Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
~William Arthur Ward
Less than a week from today, after watching Macy’s Parade on TV, Americans will gather around groaning tables full of their family’s favorite Thanksgiving dishes, enjoy a bountiful meal together, hopefully get along with relatives and friends gathered for a few hours in the same place, say an extra-long prayer giving thanks to God, then get up and go on about the business of normal life. The hostess and her helpers will start cleaning up and putting away the massive amounts of leftover food, the men will begin to watch the day’s football games before falling into a tryptophan-induced coma, and the kids will head outside if the weather is nice or completely dismantle a cousin’s room if they are confined to the indoors. If the frenzied plans, decorating and shopping for Christmas haven’t already commenced, they now have permission to crank up to full volume.
Or, is that just what happens in MY family?
The bottom line is that far too often the giving thanks portion of Thanksgiving is pitifully short, almost an afterthought. As I reflect on everything that has happened in my life since LAST Thanksgiving, I feel compelled to spend time today telling you what I want to thank God for during this season.
- I thank God for the healthy arrival of Grandchild #13, Enoch Jonathan Rodgers. God continues to bless all of the grandchildren with good health. They are learning and growing. They have good friends, loving parents, and they are all in church every Sunday morning. (And, oh, how very thankful I am for those churches!) Eight of them have accepted Christ as Savior, and the other five are in homes and environments where they are learning about God and His Son. We believe that they, too, will accept Christ when the Holy Spirit leads them.
- I thank God for giving me another year with Steve. As each anniversary goes by, I realize what a special treasure our long marriage truly is, and I don’t want to take a single day for granted.
- I thank God that our children are happy and healthy. They are in jobs/professions/life circumstances that are fulfilling, and they are able to pay their bills and provide for their children. They and their spouses are constantly seeking to know God’s will and put that into action in their lives.
- I thank God for this FOURTH career path that is allowing Steve and me to see and experience so many wonderful places and meet such interesting people. Blogging and travel writing give me a great “excuse” to do what I already wanted to do. God granted us safety as we traveled this past year to Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, Washington State, North Carolina and Alaska, as well as the Alabama Gulf Coast. Blogging and travel writing also give me an opportunity to share my faith with people I might never have crossed paths with otherwise.
- I thank God for friends who support me, cheer me on, challenge me and accept me. We moved farther away from some of those friends this year, but in the process they probably became even MORE dear to me. Some I see only on Facebook. Others I text with often. Still others I get to have lunch with occasionally. In each case, I know they are “out there,” and I feel their love and interest.
- I thank God for the improvement in my health. This time last year I was 70 pounds heavier. Those extra 70 pounds were doing a number on my joints, my blood pressure and my lab results. I still have a few more pounds to shed, but I feel so much better and have more energy to enjoy all of these great blessings.
I could make a much longer list, but these are the ones that came quickly to my thoughts. I have no idea what the days between now and next Thanksgiving will hold, but I am certain that whatever happens will come as no surprise to God. He has ordered each of my days, and He’ll be with me through every one.
Psalms 107:1 – “O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.”
Colossians 3:15 – “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.“
Colossians 3:17 – “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”