Gratitude Day 536

Wed., Nov. 25, 2020

Romans 5:18 – In other words, just as condemnation came upon all people through one transgression, so through one righteous act of Jesus’ sacrifice, the perfect righteousness that makes us right with God and leads us to a victorious life is now available to all.

Sometimes, Thanksgiving week can feel particularly challenging. Stressful. Overwhelming.

Yup, I remember these types of Thanksgiving weeks. Probably the earliest of these examples was when I was a junior in high school. In the summer, my Dad was in a farm-related accident. His should was dislocated and sustained considerable damage. Basically, he was not able to move his shoulder and could only more his arm from the elbow down.

He consulted with an orthopedics doctor and didn’t like his suggestions. Mind you, this was in the early 1980’s and today’s procedures that are common and routine were not yet developed. My Mom wrote the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and asked if a surgeon could see him. They contacted her back and said it would be February.

It was going to be an awfully long winter. My Dad was limited in what he could do. My parents were experiencing financial challenges that many farmers experienced in the 1980’s. It just wasn’t a very fun time of life.

Until the phone rang. It was Mayo Clinic. They had a cancelation the Monday of Thanksgiving week. Would my Dad want to take the slot and be examined for several days to determine what possible options he would have?

With just a few days before his appointments, my parents quickly made arrangements of how to handle things on our dairy farm while they were gone. My Mom went with him to Mayo Clinic. It was so rare that both of my parents were gone at the same time. With my older siblings were no longer living at home my younger sister, Debbie, and I accepted more responsibilities on the farm.

A neighbor milked in the morning so I could get to school on time, and I milked evenings. We came together to get all the cattle and sheep fed, taken care of, barns cleaned and keep the silo unloaders working.

If memory serves me correctly, my parents arrived home late Wednesday night. I don’t remember if we had Thanksgiving dinner or not. It is a possibility that we had Thanksgiving dinner with a family we often celebrated the holiday with. What I do remember is being tired. Watching my parents try to navigate this difficult time. How somber the holiday felt. It would be February before Dad could get on the surgery schedule. But the doctors at Mayo were optimistic they could repair his shoulder. This WAS good news.

Many families will have much smaller Thanksgiving celebrations this year. Some may feel rather somber. At our house, it will be Hubby Rick and myself. And we’re really OK with this. Rick will sleep late after working all night. We’ll have a day filled with doing things we want to do. We’ll eat something we enjoy. And spend time appreciating our blessings, life and being thankful for what we have rather than what we might not be able to do or have in the moment.

For us, the small sacrifice of not being able to see our entire families is just the way it is. When I think of all the much larger sacrifices that others have made, this seems rather minor. Doable. A no-brainer. I think of those who are serving overseas right now and away from every family member. I contemplate all the difficult shifts our health care providers are pulling right now to treat folks who hang in the balance between life and death. I recall the sacrifice that Jesus made for every single one of us. From this perspective, the sacrifices most of us will make this Thanksgiving pale in comparison to the responsibility Jesus accepted as he sacrificed his very life.

If you are feeling a bit beat up this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to keep a bit of perspective about what you have vs. what you might be giving up this Thanksgiving. Even though my Dad would have to wait a couple more months before he could have surgery, at least, there now was a plan. An option. A possibility.

Life is and feels so vastly different right now. But here’s the deal:

Gratitude is important, powerful and helpful, especially when life is really hard.

I pray we can allow ourselves to express lots of gratitude this week for what we have much more than what we feel is missing. We are still very blessed people. We have much to be thankful for. I pray this is the center of our Thanksgiving celebrations this week.

For the ability to express gratitude even when things feel so daunting right now, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – Why is it so easy to look at what we feel we’re missing rather than celebrating the blessings we have in our lives? Challenge us to be half-glass full folks this Thanksgiving. May we truly celebrate every little detail and blessing we have in our lives. Amen.

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