Each year people gather from far and near to eat and fellowship with family and friends. I am amazed that many times it is not until this time of year that people actually slow down long enough to tell the Lord ‘thank you’ for how good He has been throughout the year. It is a sad place to be in life, love, ministry, family and society to withhold gratitude throughout the year only to condense it into a one day event.
True thanksgiving is not a holiday it is a lifestyle.
In different stages of life we see that our appreciation to God takes different shapes. There are seasons of life when we thank Him for things such as toys, cars, houses, clothes and jobs. As we mature, we learn that while things are great they do not equal the value of people. Our matured realization allows us begin to thank the Lord for the blessing of our parents, siblings, spouses, children and extended family. As we get older we begin to reflect on life’s successes and celebrate the victories and accomplishments that we have been blessed to attain.
Yet when one comes to the full measure of faith, one becomes just as grateful for the lessons learned in life’s challenges as one is for the blessings of success. When you were sick you learned God was a healer. When you were troubled you learned God would bring clarity. When you were lost you learned that God would find you in your lowest and most desolate place.
As we grow we begin to thank God that even the bad things that happened were not as bad as they could have been. We recognize that in our worst state there is someone else that would love to be in our shoes. When we develop a lifestyle of thanksgiving we don’t wait until we are all around the table to appreciate, love and support one another – we do it all year long.
I, like many of you, have experienced sitting at the Thanksgiving table and someone who was there the year before has died and will never be there again. Sometimes the only comfort one has is recognizing that before the person made their transition, you demonstrated love and care at a level where they knew you were thankful for their role in your life. This week, take time to tell those that you love that you are thankful for them and make thanksgiving a lifestyle … not a holiday.