Happy Thanksgiving: Focus on Thanking God
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. —1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
Our Thanksgiving plans with extended family are often shaped by what’s happened within the year leading up to the holiday. In the past we’ve gathered at my brother’s house, but he had open-heart surgery recently and is still recovering. My daughter-in-law lost her stepfather a month ago, so her family is having Thanksgiving with her newly widowed mom. Our smaller group is gathering at my daughter’s house today.
I’ve been feeling sad about these circumstances and my own loss of a couple of friends to cancer this year. So a few days ago, I tried some closet-cleaning therapy and came across three large cardboard figures of pilgrims I used to put on the wall every Thanksgiving when our kids were growing up. After they left home, I stashed the figures in a hanging garment bag because I couldn’t bear to throw them away.
It’s been years since I thought about real-life pilgrims at Thanksgiving, but I feel they had lots to be unthankful for. In November when they arrived at America’s shores, they had to find shelter and resources for food. By that first winter, they’d lost roughly half the people who began their trip across the Atlantic in the Mayflower. Yet a year later, they didn’t dwell on their losses. Instead they gathered with the Native Americans in the region to thank God for the blessings of their first harvest of corn and barley.
Their prayerful gratitude shaped the thanks giving purpose of the holiday we celebrate today.
After my closet cleaning discovery, I tacked those pilgrim figures to our wall. Now on Thanksgiving morning, as I make mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, they again remind me of the people who endured many losses but chose to focus on thanking God for what they had.
Lord, as our family gathers today, may we find and focus on our many blessings.
Digging Deeper: Psalm 100
Excerpted with permission from Daily Guideposts 2019, copyright Guideposts.
* * *
Happy Thanksgiving! Today, no matter what’s happened this year or who we may be missing around the table, let’s choose to focus on thankful God for what we have and for His goodness! Come share your thankful list with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily