If you live in the United States, you likely celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday. (This posted on Friday, November 29, 2019).
Now, I realize that many people had a difficult time giving thanks because of some circumstance in their life. And certainly, certain challenges in our lives make being thankful difficult.
But the Bible does command us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5.18). Notice, it does not say to be thankful for all circumstances. Thus, we can find reason to give thanks even when the circumstances around us are not favorable.
Personally, I have much for which to be thankful. I was able to spend time with family yesterday. However, everyone left earlier than originally expected because of the potential weather. And I know that many families were not able to be together because of the storms throughout the US right now.
So, how might we find a reason to be thankful in that situation? Well, if they are safe, that is a reason to be thankful.
Again, one of the things I am thankful for this year is that I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family. Early this month, I wrote a post about a kidney stone that I had removed the last week of October. (I was actually thankful for the diagnosis of a kidney stone because I had no idea what the issue was and some of the diagnoses could have been much worse!)
Well, 11 days after having the stone removed, I was in a single car accident. I was on my way to teach a class at the seminary and the weather was not very good. I have been driving for over 30 years and have driven in most kinds of weather (not a hurricane or something like that), including driving in and through some significant storms (rain, snow, sleet, etc).
But on November 11th, I hit a patch of ice on a bridge and spun across a lane of traffic and hit the cement barrier (the one that keeps you from going over the bridge) at a speed of about 60-65 mph. And I hit it head on. I was shaken and in retrospect, I was more shaken than I knew. However, I was able to walk away from the wreck, and actually was able to drive my car another 30 miles to the seminary, after being checked out and released by the EMTs.
It was a rough day. It was a difficult two weeks. It has been a bit of a challenge for the last couple of weeks because of not having that car any longer. But given the impact and the potential issues that could have happened, I am thankful. I am thankful for seat belts. I am thankful for airbags. I am thankful I had enough distance between me and the semi (and other cars) behind me. I am thankful that my glasses were not broken. I was thankful that I had a place to stay that night. And I am thankful for so much more.
Again, I realize that someone reading this may have a different story to tell from a similar type of accident – whether it is their own story of that of a friend or family member. I do not know that story. But I do know mine. And whatever the other story may be, I know that mine now continues, and I have a choice in how to live my life going forward. And for that I am thankful as well
So, as we close the chapter on another Thanksgiving Day in America, we can all find reasons to be sour about the world. But we should look closely for reasons which cause us to stop and give thanks. And more than just merely giving thanks, we should consider Who is deserving of our thanks.
For me, I know my thanks are toward a God that loves me…that loves us…enough to send His Son to die. My giving of thanks this year certainly includes having my healthy and function after two significant scares within the last month. But if I am truly to be about giving thanks, I need to be about living in thanks as well.
I can do that best by living serving the One to whom I am thankful. I can say thanks by sharing His message. I can give thanks by loving others in His name. I can give thanks by living in, not of.
And you can give thanks in all these ways, and more as well.
Let us truly give thanks to God, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but each and every day – for who He is and what He has done.