Friday, November 28, 2008

The Other 364 Days of Thanksgiving

Being thankful is hard for some people and its difficult at certain times. Being thankful is not limited to one day in November, either. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have the right to be thankful every day of the year.

Being thankful is not about the situation or circumstance you find yourself in. To only be thankful when things are going well is a rather narrow, self-centered and shallow understanding of God and your role in the world.

Thanksgiving should be a way of life. Yet, for many people it is not. For many years I was one of those people who was only thankful when things were going well. It was just easier for me.

1 Thes. 5.18 says "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Really, all circumstances? Being thankful in every circumstance can be challenging, to say the least.

In the last year, I have been around one person who has taught me something about being thankful about anything and everything; my 4 year old. There is one specific thing he does which always serves as a reminder. He always starts his prayers with "thank you."

I'm not talking about a "thank you for our food" or a "thank you for my new toy." I'm talking about prayers like, "thank you that Grandma is not feeling well" or "thank you for our next house." He says a prayer of thanks for things that are going to happen (things he is trusting will happen because my wife and I tell him they will) and things that are happening, even though they are negative.

When he first started to say these prayers, I had a hard time not being emotional. How amazing is it to hear a child pray for someone's sickness or for God's provision. He trusts God to be able to handle and provide. He thinks God is concerned. He thanks God in his prayers for the things going on in his life.

I want to be like my son, able to thank God for every aspect of my life. And I pray you do too. God does, too - "give thanks in all circumstances"

When you have trouble being thankful, take a moment to stop and think about a few things. First, think about what it means to have a Savior who loves you enough to die in your place. Second, think about what your future would be without the hope of eternity in Heaven. Third, stop and take a breath. Now, thank God for the breath of life. Fourth, adjust your outlook.

Do not limit your thanksgiving to just one day a year.

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