What is the first thing that pops into your head when you think of Thanksgiving? For me, it is a combination of large family gatherings, a huge lunch followed by a whole week of eating those leftovers, fall weather, a lazy afternoon watching football, and a day of expressing what I am thankful for. Over the last few years, however, I realized how distorted my viewpoint about this day is. Perhaps your definition of Thanksgiving is similar to mine, and there is nothing wrong with that. All of the aforementioned things are wonderful. Yet, on second thought, Thanksgiving is so much more than that. Thanksgiving is not a proper noun like it appears to be. It is instead an action verb and one that we neglect far too often. Contrary to what the world tells us, thanksgiving is something we should practice each and every day of the year as opposed to one day of the year.
It is generally noted that Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States of America to reflect on the blessings of the past year. It was modeled after a remarkable feast in 1621that Pilgrims held in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Again, this is by no means a bad thing. I am grateful for the Pilgrims, Indians, and other primary inhabitants of our land that helped make it into what it is today. But I am even more grateful for the blessings God has given me. Firstly, that He loved us all enough to send His only Son down to this earth to live a perfect life, die an unthinkable death that covers our sins, and then chose to resurrect from His death after three days. I am also thankful for the promise He makes that He will come back to this earth to judge all, and will take those who believe in Him with Him to Heaven to live for eternity. This narrative alone is worthy of our thanksgiving each and every day of the year. God does not love us for one day of the year but chases our hearts relentlessly day after day. I invite you to make thanksgiving an active part of your everyday life, not just a day that you use for a good meal.
I am by no means near as thankful as I should be for all that I have, and I would bet that you are not either. Think about this. Just for you to have access to a screen to read this article means you are among the most privileged people in this world. Over the next year, I am going to try and live a life overflowing with thanksgiving, and I encourage you all to join. Focus on something you are thankful for each of the next twelve months. Every person's list will be unique, but here is my list to use as an example:
- Give thanks for the chance to sleep in a warm bed in the midst of the cold weather
- Give thanks for the opportunity to be comforted with clothes and shelter daily
- Give thanks for the chance to receive an education/make a living
- Give thanks for the opportunity to live in freedom because of sacrifice
- Give thanks for the people around you. Life is about relationships
- Give thanks for the amount and quality of food you have access to
- Give thanks for the opportunity you have to access clean water
- Give thanks not only for life's best moments but also for the worst.
- Give thanks for the technology you have access too
- Give thanks for the chance to find rest and peace in the Father's arms
- Give thanks for the chance to leave your comfort zone and experience newness
- Give thanks always. Make it a daily habit and not a yearly one.
I know this list might seem pretty basic, but it is far from that. A vast majority of the world would love to be in the position that you are today. Take absolutely nothing for granted. Embrace the amazing life you live.