“The pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving feast to celebrate the successful fall harvest. It was an English tradition at the time and the pilgrims had much to celebrate. The 53 pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving were the only colonists to survive the long journey and the first winter in the New World. Although the modern day Thanksgiving feast takes place on the third Thursday of November, the first Thanksgiving did not. This feast most likely happened sometime between September and November of 1621.”
While there is much speculation about this first Thanksgiving I believe it is an amazing tradition to celebrate. It seems to get lost in our busy lives between Halloween and Christmas; and we can forget to stop and be thankful. Our lives are filled with blessings and good things that we sometimes rush right past. To be thankful is to simply express gratitude and acknowledge the many good things that we are privileged to have.
I know there is so much sorrow in our world, wildfires, mass murders, school shootings, human trafficking, job loss, and broken families. But although our lives are riddled with pain and heartache at times, no matter what we seem to be facing there is always something to be thankful for.
It can be difficult to look at our lives objectively when we are hurting. But isn’t that the very time when it’s the most important to stop, take a good look at what we really have and give thanks? Our minds tend to go in the direction of our focus, so we must choose to focus on what we do have not on what we don’t; and I know sometimes that’s hard. I’m amazed at how many times I can be wallowing in a pool of self pity only to hear of another family who is facing something I can not imagine I could face; the loss of a child or my husband.
I’m jerked back to the reality that my problems and difficulties could be far worse. I have been humbled to my core when I stop to take inventory of my life and find so many things that I can honestly be grateful for in the midst of the current pain. And I am guessing we all could.
When pain and heartache are present and our emotions are raging against it all, we often shake our fist at the sky screaming “why?” Our whys may never get answered but instead of bemoaning the why let’s begin to ask “how?” How can I find a way to be grateful IN this situation, how can I give in the midst of my lack, how can I give God glory despite this circumstance?
Can we not for a moment shift our attention from what is happening to all of the other things we have that are good and right and exhale praise heavenward for those? It takes perspective and humility to decide to give God our praise instead of being angry over what isn’t. So much of this world and it’s people have far less than any of us could ever dream of living without.
As I face the unknown, embrace my inability to change it and CHOOSE to trust a God I know is faithful; I am strengthened to give thanks for the abundance of blessings and gifts He has allowed into my life. I would challenge you to take an inventory today of the things and the people that you are thankful for. Write them down and take a good long look at them. If you do I’m positive you will see how very much you have to be grateful and thankful for.
1 Thessalonians 5:18, “in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Chronicles 16:34, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever”
Psalms 9:1,“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds”
Psalms 106:1. “Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!