2 Corinthians 4:15 – All these things are for your benefit. As grace increases to benefit more and more people, it will cause gratitude to increase, which results in God’s glory.
Gratitude Day 794
This is the week that blessings and gratitude and thanks-living come to the forefront of our lives. We celebrate Thanksgiving for a really good reason: because we need/should/must give thanks for everything in our lives.
A place to live. A vehicle to drive. Food to eat. Relationships. Clothes to wear. Health. Financial security. Family. Given a few minutes, we should be able to come up with a list that could go on and on.
Yet, there are families and people who may not feel terribly grateful right now. What if you lost your home recently in one of the last hurricanes? Or you are still trying to un-dig from 5+ feet of snow last weekend? What if you or a loved one is going through a health situation? Or your loved one recently went on Hospice or some other end-of-life transition?
What if you recently lost your job or were downsized? Did your car break down and you don’t have the funds to repair it? Or someone has been difficult and well, they simply have made your life more challenging than it should be?
We are very much aware of families dealing with members who have rampant drug issues. Or broken relationships within families that make the holidays anything but pleasant. Grudges that don’t go away and means it’s a balancing act between trying to keep things calm. What happens when someone overindulges at a family celebration and suddenly everyone feels out of sorts? What do you do then?
You take a deep breath, close your eyes and quickly ask God for some wisdom on what to do next. Seriously.
Truth? As much as some people love the holidays, for others, they are difficult. Challenging. Disappointing. Just make a person sad.
This is reality. We put so much pressure to try and have “perfect” holidays. We feel it is necessary to post pictures that show how “wonderful” everything was, whether this is true or not. If you have one of those picture-perfect holidays/families/events, bless your heart and soul. This is fantastic!
But if your holiday is more of a challenge, I pray that you will hear my words when I say, “Honey, you aren’t alone.” A lot of other people do not have holidays that turn out just perfect either.
When I was about 10-years-old, I remember a Christmas morning that was anything but great. I grew up on a dairy farm, which means there were cows to milk and animals to feed and things to do before we ever thought of opening up a present. This particular Christmas morning was terribly cold. Like so cold not one tractor would start, which means getting everything else done became a major challenge. The piece of equipment that helped us get out the feed for the cows, called a silo unloader, also did not like the cold. The forage was so frozen, trying to get it broken apart to feed the animals was nearly impossible.
Did I mention that a bunch of the water faucets for the animals also froze? Yep, it was that awful and cold.
At some point, my whole family all came into the house for breakfast. We had our stinky barn clothes on while sitting at the dining room table, which never happened. Sticky clothes were for the kitchen table, not the dining room. But it was Christmas.
My Mom had a special bread she always made for Christmas morning, in the shape of a Christmas tree. We ate grapefruit with candy canes and hot chocolate to warm us up. My parents were exhausted from trying to get things running that morning. My siblings and I knew better than to ask if we would be opening presents after breakfast. There were still morning chores to do. I think Mom even questioned about making Christmas dinner. Feeding the animals was more important than a semi-nice dinner for us.
It was that challenging.
Breakfast was very quiet that Christmas morning. Finances were super tight on the farm. We knew there would only be a few presents under the for-real Charlie Brown Christmas tree that we had cut out of our own woods because there was no money for a pretty “town” tree. The whole day felt stifled and not very fun.
But somehow, a tractor started. Eventually, we were able to get enough feed rounded up to get all the animals fed. It was late afternoon before we had something of a Christmas dinner. While it was still bitterly cold, the sun’s ray glittered through the long, skinny windows in our dining room. Somehow, dinner felt a bit more joyous than breakfast. We had gotten every animal fed and watered. Our simple presents were better than nothing. Mom had made Baked Alaska dessert for Christmas dinner.
A true bonus.
No matter what happens this week, or doesn’t happen, let’s express gratitude for every little blessing we come across.
The unexpected hug from someone.
News of a person healing from a recent surgery.
A warm cup of tea or coffee with something sweet.
Some silly joke that makes us laugh, or maybe even cringe.
The ability to go for a walk before or after Thanksgiving dinner.
Please do not be embarrassed to turn off the television and play cards or a board game.
To linger in a conversation that says nothing and everything.
Wear the same silly sweater you have the last number of years and be good with it.
Tell the cook that the food is fantastic no matter what.
And if you are alone, pick up the phone and call three people that make your heart swell with joy. Seriously.
Holidays do not have to be perfect. The first Thanksgiving certainly wasn’t. It happened because the people had experienced so much loss. They wanted to express gratitude for what little they had left. They also wanted to say “thank you” to those who helped them along the way.
No matter what happens, or doesn’t happen, at your Thanksgiving celebrations this week, simply express gratitude for those little things in your life. Even if it only for your benefit.
Why must we express gratitude? As the scripture verse says, it is for our benefit. When we spend our timing thinking of everything good that is a part of our lives, we have less time and energy to put into thinking about what we think we yet want.
Most of us have all of our needs met. And a significant amount of our wants as well. Yes, we will miss a loved one who we wished Could be seated at the Thanksgiving table. But isn’t. There are parts of our lives we wish were different. Let us be okay with these things and put our energy, time and attention into celebrating every good thing in our lives. Most of us have way more to be grateful for than we realize.
Praise the Lord.
For the necessity to express gratitude this week, I am grateful.
Loving God – Thank you for providing for me beyond what I need. Receive my gratitude when I say, “You are my rock and at the core of my life.” May the days this week be bathed in my expressions of gratitude for all that I have. Thank you for always watching over me. Amen.
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