As we gather with family and friends to take in a day of rest, let me ask you what are you thankful for today? I mean really thankful for? What is it that you value and who? These are critical questions of reflection that we must dare to ask ourselves on special days like this. Today is about more than Turkeys. Cranberries. Stuffing and a feast fit for a king. Today is about what we are thankful for.
The actual history of Thanksgiving in our country dates back to our very first President, George Washington, who asked citizens to honor the ending of the Revolutionary War, as well the affirmation of the new United States Constitution.
The 4th Thursday in November has been the observed national holiday since President Abraham Lincoln, who in 1863 during the Civil War issued a proclamation for Americans “to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation”
More than 150 years later, we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving every November. When you hear “Thanksgiving” do you think of fellowship with family & friends, eating all of your favorite foods, and watching parades and football on TV?
The above are all wonderful ways to enjoy the holiday, but it is not the most important one. Thanksgiving is a day to worship and praise GOD for all of his blessings. The most meaningful act you can do on Thanksgiving is not focusing on your Black Friday shopping list. It is to focus on GOD and his never-ending love, grace and mercy.
The Bible is filled with verses about giving thanks. Here are a few to meditate on this Thanksgiving:
Let us come before him with thanksgiving.
-Psalm 95:2 (NIV)
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
-Psalm 100:4 (NIV)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
-1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV)
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
-Psalm 9:1 (NIV)
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers.
-Philemon 1:4 (NIV)
As Church Girls (and guys too), an attitude of “thanksgiving” to GOD should be a part of our everyday. Having an attitude of gratitude is part of what it means to be a follower of Christ.
We have a small activity for you to do. Take out a piece of paper. Start listing the names of every person in your life GOD has blessed you with. Write every member of your family, your friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members who you’re grateful for. Don’t forget the people in your life you may not know by name, but still bless you. For example, your mail postal delivery person, the crew who picks up your trash and recycle from your home, the mechanic who keeps your car running smoothly. What about your doctor, dentist, your hair-dresser? Even your favorite cashier at the grocery store and the coffee barista who makes your espresso just the way you like it. Please be sure to include your Pastor, and your local Police & Fire Department. Make sure you name every person who is a blessing in your life. Many of these people grant you daily favor, and favor is a direct gift from GOD.
After you finish your list of people, start listing all of your other blessings. I promise you will need more paper! Thank GOD for the gift of being alive. For every part of your body that is working. If you are reading this, you can thank HIM for your vision. If you are reading this, you have access to a cell phone or tablet or computer, another blessing many do not have. Do you have a bed to sleep in? A roof over your head that isn’t leaking? Do you have electricity and clean running water? Do you have reliable transportation or live in a city where you can use public transportation to get around? Is there any food in your pantry? Do you have more than one pair of shoes?
Are you able to attend church without fear of being arrested? Can you freely carry and read your Bible in public? Do you live here in America, where we have freedom of speech and freedom of religion?
How is your list looking? Now give thanks for things that are personal to your life’s journey. You can thank GOD for your pets, your favorite music, a sunrise, a sunset, the leaves changing color in the fall, the sound of the waves crashing at the ocean shore. Thank him for the smell of fresh-cut flowers, or the laughter of children playing at your community park.
Keep adding until you can’t think of anything else. You can always go back and add more.
Whatever challenges you are facing personally or professionally, look at your list. Meditate on your list. Keep your list where you can find it. Remember “Every good and perfect gift is from above” –James 1:17 (NIV). On Thanksgiving Day and everyday, Give Thanks.
Here at Church Girls Redefined, we are thankful every day for your love, prayers and support! Thank You! On behalf of our founder, Sophia A. Nelson, we wish each of you and your loved ones a blessed, healthy, happy and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday. GOD Bless You!
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