This month we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. We learned in school that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in 1621. What we may not remember is that the Pilgrims didn’t have many reasons to be thankful. H. U. Westermayer noted, “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
St. Paul wrote, in Philippians 4, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” We are not instructed to ignore our needs or make believe that they do not exist.
No, we are told to acknowledge them and present them to God in prayer. Yet, in the midst of our worries and prayers, Paul asks us to remember everything that is good and offer thanks.
Lately, the news in our world has not been very good. Personally, you may find yourself in times of difficulty. It is important, especially during times like these, to remember to be thankful, even though it may not be easy to do. Being thankful reminds us that not everything is bad. We often get focused on our problems and miss all the good around us. Reminding ourselves of what is good in our lives can help raise our spirits above our problems, and produce the faith we need to accompany our prayers.
Being thankful produces hope. As the old saying goes, “This too shall pass.” Thankfulness reminds us of times when situations changed, friends helped, and God proved faithful. Hope gives us the strength to endure, to keep going.
Being thankful creates a humble heart. Gratitude recognizes the contribution of those around us. It reminds us that we are never self-sufficient, and that we often need the support and encouragement of others. The Scriptures tell us that God rescues the humble. Lastly, being thankful blesses others. We can’t always give the way we want to, but we can always give the gift of appreciation. Saying thank you can make a person’s day or even change a life.
I pray your Thanksgiving season will be one of abundance, full of love, laughter and friendship. I pray that your needs will be supplied, and your surplus will be used to bless others. I pray that your heart will overflow with gratitude to God and as a gift to others.