The week of Thanksgiving: Give thanks.
How do we give thanks- is it the same as gratitude?
No. Gratitude is an emotional response. Gratitude -the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Thanksgiving- the expression of gratitude especially to God.
I am deeply saddened by the incident at the Wisconsin parade last night. Imagine being with your family for a nice evening and an SUV comes barreling through killing elderly women marching & dancing, and injuring 48 others.
What a nightmare. Life is so different from when I was growing up. (Pause)
How do we offer thanksgiving when a tragedy strikes? After all 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Amazingly, one husband told the news that the memory of his wife will bring joy to everyone who knew her.
For others it will be like Ecclesiastes 3 says- There is a time for everything including a time to die, a time to cry, and a time to be sad.
Mourning does not exclude being thankful for the elements in our lives. It just may be harder to access. It is unhealthy to suppress our grief. Bottling up our emotions causes mental and physical anguish.
For those of us who have not experienced tragedy at the parade, we may have experienced other disturbing events this year. Life is full of disappointments. John 16:33 tells us in this life we will have many trials and sorrows. And yet, we are called to still give thanks…probably because Jesus goes on to say ” But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 107:1 says
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.”
God is not the author of hard times. People have free will. Darrell Brooks had free will. And sickness is a natural occurrence- God does not specifically point out people to get sick and/ or die. Addictions are both biological and choice influenced. Tornadoes and hurricanes are natural events. War is determined by people and so is genocide.
We must separate our thanks to God. We thank God as in Psalm 7:17 “I will thank the Lord because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.” and we do so always and for everything.
This year I personally have so-so much to be grateful for. I could look back on the year and focus on the violence in my life and on my depression- but not only is this the United States’ week of thanksgiving, but as stated above, I am called to focus on God’s divine love.
Just off the top of my head I made a list of 52 things I am grateful for. One for each year of my life. Here is the list in ramdon order.
- running water
- a bed
- a part time job
- a sun lamp
- ability to walk
- 12 step programs
- sunny days
- front yard
- safe neighborhood
- crisp mornings
- my writing coach
- yahtzee with buddies
- my Sunday School class
- a wonderful church family
- volunteers at work
- Bible Gateway
- my life group
- word press
- promo coupons
- Hobby Lobby
- the bus
- the beach
- and my relationship with God
The list came very quickly for me. My goal is to come up with 200 elements by Thanksgiving- which I am sure won’t takes long, as soon as I sit down to do it.
Like I said in my last article controlling our thoughts is our responsibility. We have a choice to be biter or be better than that. I know the world is full of turmoil right now. It always has been. Even in the time of Jesus and just after that- the Jews were faced with the control of the Romans and being put to death for their faith. Its just in our day and time we have media coverage every where, capturing everything and making it known instantly. And as humans we have a negative bias. Our news is mostly filled with calamity. It bombards us.
It is on us this week to hunt down and search out every good gift that is from above James 1:17.
Today what are you grateful for? Who are you grateful for? Can you text or call them to let them know? Its free yet the joy you bring to someone is priceless. Just as is the glory you bring to God with your grateful heart.
This year, in spite of anything negative, let us say Thank YOU to the Lord.
Until Next Time~