I tried to be more reflective this Thanksgiving…I tried to focus less on the event and think more of the blessings I’ve received the past year. As I thought about this I found that despite my perceived difficulties there have been so many amazing things that have happened during the exact same time period I spent so much time fretting over. So while I did eat way more then I should have I also fed myself spiritually by reflecting on all God has done for me in the past year. Now that was a meal that filled me to overflowing but didn’t leave me feeling bloated!
What are you thankful for? Are you thankful? How do you see the last year?
What caused the change in my attitude from grumbling to gratitude? Paul encourages us to learn to be content in all things (Phil 4:11) and that’s the key for me to being thankful. Content, being satisfied with what you have, is not settling, its not resigned resignation. Rather it’s recognizing the good things that you have in your life, seeing the glass as half full rather than empty. Really, it’s counting your blessings. As I write this I think of the old song “count your blessings”, especially the chorus which encourages us to name them one by one. It’s hard to get down, to feel we’re missing something, when we have this attitude.
But what if you can’t think of any? What if you feel as if there are no blessings right now?
In times of difficulty, when the blessings in our lives are hard to see, we do as the Psalmist did: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord” (Ps.77:.11). Remember what He has done for you in the past, remember what He has done for those you know, remember what He has done throughout history, remember the gift of His son dying for you so that you might live in eternity rather than being judged and have a full life right now…remember blessings.
In Ephesians we read: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”(1:3). Do you want to be thankful? Have an attitude of gratitude? Reflect on that for a while. While we may be lacking in the material or physical things of life we have a rich spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. Contentment, and from that thanksgiving, comes from where we look and how we look at the things we have.
Yes, as I reflected, as I looked back at the past year and how time after time God showed up in my life in amazing ways I was humbled. I was reminded that my God will meet all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19). It took my breath away. Not wants but needs, that’s the key to counting blessings, being content. It’s hard because we live in a world that tells us we deserves things: a new car, a new wife, a new whatever and then tries to sell it to us. God provides our needs. The interesting thing is that when we begin to focus on what He provides for us, when we remember His grace, His love, His provision, our material wants blow away. Then we are content; then we are thankful. So don’t see Thanksgiving Day as a once a year event rather every day seek to give thanks and breath the fresh air of contentment.