All Americans are thinking about Thanksgiving in some way, shape or form right now. As I type many are already traveling or preparing to travel. Turkeys are defrosting in fridges about to hit the oven, and people have already been going to purposely buy jelly beans this week ready to much them with popcorn during their annual tradition of watching "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" with the fam.
We're all "Thanksgiving saturated right now", but how many of us truly, myself included were actually going to spend some honest time being thankful, and on top of that taking time to thank God himself for all His blessings? If it's "just about the turkey" we're surely missing it.
Maybe we can be thankful this week, after all we're having some yummy dishes and hanging with family, but what about the other times in our lives when the Bible says, "Give thanks in all circumstances..."
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
-1 Thessalonians 5:18
I've honestly struggled with that, because there's been too many times to count that I have not felt very thrilled about life and my circumstances. I haven't honestly felt very thankful. If I'm honest I've lived plenty like I'm cursed, not blessed!
I think of these verses too:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4: 6-7
So, that is easier said than done! We were introduced through our church to the little book, "Joyful Journey". This book said, "When we give thanks, gratitude becomes the vehicle through which we become aware of the presence of Immanuel, the God who is always with us. Gratitude in the middle of difficulties allows us to have [the recognition that God is present, is truly good and perseveres in doing good for us].
I pretty much understand it like this: when I come to God with thankfulness I take the focal point off me for a change, and regardless of what is going on around me I see and hear Him. I am reminded that He is with me in every second of my life. God's character can only be good. His love is pure and unfailing. Immanuel is with me in all circumstances. I can be thankful for His presence. Therefore, I can be thankful in all circumstances because He is with me, and the God who is with me is persevering in doing good for me.
When pain or struggles occur, the enemy speaks lies to us, wanting us to take our eyes off of Jesus towards our situation, and we lose sight of "God with us" [Immanuel]. Even in those tough moments we have the ability through Holy Spirit to turn our eyes back towards Jesus, and thank him in it because he has never, and never will leave us or forsake us.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Happy Thanks Giving!