It’s Thanksgiving morning here in the United States. In our part of the world, it’s a little rainy . . . a lot foggy . . . muggy and relatively warm after being cold for almost two weeks. I’ve been up for a couple hours while everyone else sleeps. And I’m sitting here thinking about thankfulness. Seems fitting for Thanksgiving now, doesn’t it? But the reality is, it seems like we try to relegate gratitude to one month out of the year. As if we can fit it all in to 30 days, and somehow, the rest of the year, we all too often find ourselves chasing all the things we think will make us happy, make our lives better . . . but gratitude can’t be put on shelf and dusted off for just a month or so each year . . . it’s where we need to live and dwell each and every day.
The truth is the past few weeks have been a bit on the rough side for my youngest. This time of year, her absolute favorite time of year, can be a double-edged sword, if you will. It’s a lot to take in. A lot to deal with. A lot of excitement and anticipation of so much fun. A lot of stress and busyness mixed in with that. Add to the standard holiday madness, my eldest’s crazy basketball schedule, and we’ve seen some behaviors emerge that we haven’t seen in a minute. Not to mention, on a personal note, that if I think too far ahead about all that’s on our calendar, I quickly become overwhelmed with all the things, all good and necessary things, happening over the next couple months.
So, as I sit here this morning with my bible and my coffee and my prayers, it’s easy to forget the gratitude and go straight to “fix it Jesus”. Because I know He’s the only one that can. He’s the only one that can truly heal the traumas and wounds of the past. He’s the only one that can mend broken hearts and set captives free. He’s the only one that can bring peace in the chaos of life. But I can’t just skip straight to the “fix it” part of my prayers. Because gratitude matters. Jesus isn’t just the Santa Claus for grown-ups, here to grant all our fantastical (and not so fantastical) Christmas wishes. Not that He doesn’t want to hear what we need and want. Not that He doesn’t desire to meet those needs. He does, but that’s only part of what He desires. He desires a relationship, communication, worship, and yes, gratitude. Gratitude is an integral part of our walk with Christ.
It can be so easy to focus on what’s lacking . . . what needs fixing . . . what’s not right. And this year, both on a personal level for many, and on a much larger scale for most, there is a lot that needs to be “fixed”. But there’s always always so much for which to be grateful. As I sit in the silence this morning, waiting for sleepy heads to emerge from bedrooms, and another Thanksgiving Day to kick off, I am thankful. Thankful for this moment of peace. Thankful for a Savior who loved and loves me enough to come to earth and live and die for me, but that also loves me enough to sit with me in these moments and walk with me through the hard and the beautiful of this life. Thankful for the fact that I can take anything to His feet, and He will “perfect that which concerneth me” (Psalm 138:8) because He is a God that understands our weaknesses and struggles and keeps His promises. Thankful for all the blessings in my life, both big and small, and thankful in the struggles because I know “He works all things together for good” (Romans 8:28) even when the circumstances themselves are far from good.
I pray that on this day, however it may look for you, and beyond . . . that this week, this month, this year and next, be filled with the knowledge of God’s goodness. That your heart be overflowing with gratitude that can only come from knowing my Jesus. Whether you’re facing a time of peace and plenty, or a time of storms and stress, or like most of us, you land somewhere in the middle, may you know how deeply loved, valued, and cherished you are by your Heavenly Father.
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
– Ephesians 3:14-21