I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1
Thanksgivings, like any holiday, can be wonderful or imperfect, in varying degrees. During the push to get ready for the big family dinner, feelings can get put on a back burner. The days following, however, are often difficult because we re-live what was missing.
Life is all about perspective. We know that. But when things get difficult, God’s children struggle to find a perspective that means something deeply wonderful. There is a list to encourage us to think thoughts that go upward instead of outward. Looking up alters discouragement. How does it work?
- When loved ones will be missing from my table because of distance, I will still be thankful that God hears every prayer I pray for them. He will be near them though I will be far away.
- When normal holiday sentiments get stuck in my throat because times are difficult, I will be thankful that glorious eternal sentiments are mine no matter the circumstances. I am God’s child. He is my Father.
- When I see the faces of those I love around my table, I will be grateful that my love for them is just a little glimpse of the great love the Savior has for each of us.
- When thoughts of the future overwhelm me, I will be grateful that it is only the immediate future, not my eternal one, which may be challenging. For every difficulty, God will take me by the hand and walk me through it, smoothing the way.
- Many of my family are in heaven and will be missing from my Thanksgiving table. I can give thanks that we will sit together at another banquet table, one that eclipses the most beautiful gathering on Thursday. Jesus will be the One serving us.
- If, by chance, I have to look into the face of one who has not loved me well and I find there is pain with the memories, I will give thanks that I belong to One who is not like that. Anything I need, He is. He is the great ‘I am’.
Thanksgiving is not confession made through gritted teeth. God does not force children to be polite little robots. Instead, He encourages thanksgiving for what He has already given us and what is yet to come. If I’m short on a list because of the imperfections of yesterday, I need only open the scriptures and put my name in the meta-narrative of redemption. Every stunning promise is mine. Every beautiful thing awaits me.
With tear filled eyes, I will thank you! Amen