Giving Thanks!

Thanksgiving is a day when we all come together to celebrate with family and friends and bask in the glow of relationships, shared memories and full, warm bellies. We pause and give thanks for God’s blessings and the abundance in our lives. At least, that is the idealized version of Thanksgiving that we all envision. That’s the way Thanksgiving should be and for many of us, it is exactly that.  But let’s be honest, blessings and abundance may seem to be in short supply for many others. In fact, beyond the facade of celebration, most of us are masking deep hurts, smiling through worries and just barely keeping our heads above troubled waters.

But wait! This isn’t a post about exploring the troubles we all face, this is about embracing them. I know what you’re probably thinking, “How can you possibly tie Thanksgiving together with both blessings and burdens?” Well, let’s start with this, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2) No one likes pain and trouble in their life, but Paul was telling us that there is a greater purpose to our pain than we sometimes realize and as Christians, we must recognize that in living out our faith through the troubles that befall us, Jesus will come along side us, help us endure, ultimately triumph and lead others to the joy of Christ in their lives.

Further, in Philippians 4:6 Paul tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” He reminds us to give every problem and every worry to God. And make special note – Paul is telling us here to be thankful for every problem and every situation that causes us to worry. That may seem strange, but thanking God for our trials allows Him to reveal His grace and provides Him the opportunity to show us, and others – how He works in our lives.

So yes, Thanksgiving is a time of celebration, a time of reflection, for thanking and recognizing God  for the blessings in our life – even if those blessings are sometimes found in the burdens of our life.

I leave you with these words that Paul gives us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

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