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Being Thankful Anyway

November 27, 2014

“Give thanks in all circumstances.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving—by far and away my favorite holiday. I’m not sure why, except that it has always seemed so uncluttered. Fortunately it has escaped the commercialization of Halloween and Christmas. There are no goblins or trick-or-treaters, and no lavish decorations, card lists, shopping escapades for people who really don’t need anything, and no cleaning up the clutter of torn paper, bows, and boxes.

Hats off to Thanksgiving! It’s the stealth holiday that continues to fly under the radar of the retailer’s hype. All that’s left is family, turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, killer pies, a crackling fire in the fireplace, a little football on TV, and then turkey sandwiches and more pie. It doesn’t get much better than this. No wonder it’s called Thanksgiving!

Unless, that is, you don’t have much of a family and turkey dinners only remind you of what used to be. Let’s face it; there are a lot of people who feel deeply lonely on holidays. If this has been a particularly tough year and you have had more than your share of troubles, it’s easy to feel that you’ve been cheated out of things to be thankful for. And, believe me—there are a lot who feel this way. Widows, the elderly, single parents, soldiers in remote places, the unhealthy, the pink-slipped, victims of tragedy—and the list goes on.

In case you’re thinking, That’s what I’m thankful for—that I’m not like them! I have lots to be thankful for . . . Think again. In one downstroke of God’s providence, you and I could lose everything we cherish. Then what? Cancel Thanksgiving? Not if you know what you still have to be thankful for. I’m well aware that when we are feeling really sorry for ourselves we don’t want anyone to cheer us up. It wrecks the pity party! But let me try.

If you have Jesus and His strong presence in your life . . .

If you have His Word to comfort and assure you that all is not lost and your disappointments are the fertile ground where God often works to bring about good and gain to His glory and your benefit. . .

If you believe that this is not the only world you have and that He has paid the entry price for you to go to a world that is forever far better . . .

If you believe that crying lasts for the night but joy comes in the morning . . .

If you can still pray . . .

If you can give help to someone else in need . . .

If you can’t ever lose the stuff that really counts in your life . . .

Then stand up and start praising. It’s therapeutic.

And for those of us who are thankful for good health, friends, money, a home, and turkeys, we have something to learn here. The things that we should really be thankful for are all the possessions we can’t lose because Jesus has been so eternally good to us!

So, let’s all be thankful! And make sure that your list of things to be thankful for is topped by the good things that God in His grace has supplied for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!