All week long I had been reminded that the season of Thanksgiving was upon us. For most of us it means work as we have to tend to the needs of our families by cooking and preparing and decorating and in the midst of all of that we forget the reason for the season. It is to give thanks.
I attended church this morning and as I sat in the services and began to review the stages of life. Over the past year, my life or I should say my perspective on life changed. It became affected as I watched the various situations around me and how I reacted to the changing scenes of life. As I looked at the people who sat around me, I wondered how did their lives change? Just a glimpse of a sneak peek into their lives and I couldn’t help but wonder at the changes they had seen.
It’s safe to say many of us have seen many changes this year, some good and some bad. While none of us have a crystal ball to see what the next year will bring, we hope that any change that will come will be good and will work together for our good. We believe that issues affecting our lives have a purpose. Sometimes it’s to instruct, sometimes it’s to remind us of the big picture or sometimes things happen for reasons we cannot understand. But we do have the assurance and the belief that ultimately all things will work together for our good.
This year, my family are coming for Thanksgiving. I’m excited as I plan to entertain and cook and clean up afterwards. I have found the joy is in giving. Not just of my talents but of my presence. I plan to laugh and eat (forget my diet) and joke around for a brief few hours to forget the pain and sorrow that is in the world.
I also plan to give thanks. I will give thanks starting now. I’m giving thanks with a grateful heart for joy, peace, shelter, food, clothing, friends, vocation, and health, these basic things in life for which we take for granted. Everything else is secondary. Nothing matter’s more this season than having someone to share these precious few moments with when we can forget politics, elections and every situation that divides us.
I ask that as you sit across the table from your annoying uncle, brother, sister, take time out to see them for who they are, a relative, a friend someone in need of the same things you do. Give thanks for the gift of family, it’s only a few hours and then they will be on their way. But for now give thanks.
There are many people who have no family whose members are deceased, deployed or who are missing. They would give anything to have what you have. Give thanks, anyway. There are senior citizens who have been abandoned and who having worked to build this nation and raise their families are now left at the mercy and kindness of an overworked employee; give thanks as they cannot do so, but do it anyhow. If you have all your limbs intact and they we are not blown off by a roadside bomb in a war fought in a country far way, give thanks.
If your parents are divorced and they are fighting, give thanks anyway. If your are in a hospital give thanks. It’s better to be hanging on here than to be on the other side. If your children are missing, but you are here, celebrate life, give thanks for the time you had with them.
If 2012 was the year in which you lost your spouse whether it was to divorce, or death each signaling the same result, give thanks anyhow. You are still here, while there is life there is hope. Hope in tomorrow.
For those of you who don’t believe in America and who believe that our nation is on the verge of collapse, I encourage you to take a lesson in foreign politics and watch the BBC World News. You will find yourself giving thanks that each day you wake up you live in a country where the President is always the President and the police are not in charge of the affairs of the country. Give thanks, anyway.
I found myself giving thanks for all the storms that I had passed through, all the loss I experienced , I found that I was grateful for still being here. I am grateful for being able to write this and grateful that you are reading and are a supporter of my efforts. I am deeply grateful, thank you.
I encourage you to say a prayer for peace and for Americans who are fighting in Afghanistan, whose families are wishing they were here, give thanks for their sacrifice. For that child wishing Mommy would survive cancer, give thanks, for the homeless and the hungry, give thanks that it could have been you, but for the Grace of God go I, give thanks .
For the husband, wife, or child on life support, give thanks anyhow. If you lost your job or your business, give thanks. You will have an opportunity to start all over again. This time you will be smarter,wiser and humbled by the experience of loss. You will find you are more loving, more patient and you will take time to see life not as a spectator but as a participator.
Give thanks with a grateful heart are the words of a song used in the service. As the notes in the song stirred my soul I was reminded how difficult it is to give thanks in the midst of loss and pain and sorrow. But I know from first hand experience, that this is when you should give thanks.
As you look around you and see the losses that have occurred and you know it could have been worse, but you are standing in the midst of it, but just like a soldier who has come to bring freedom to people in a war zone, that’s how the spirit of gratitude comes to refresh our soul and to remind us that every day is a gift. If we take one day to give thanks, then let it be I say let it be.