For the first time since I migrated to the United States, I’m spending Thanksgiving away from home. I’m in Trinidad where Thanksgiving is not celebrated and the atmosphere is completely different. It feels weird, but I know it’s only temporary and I can still be thankful for this day regardless of where I am.
You too may be in a different place this Thanksgiving, either physically, mentally, or emotionally, and the feeling may be weird or even painful. But take heart, it will pass. Think of things you can be thankful for — friends, family, even life itself. So, whether you’re celebrating over turkey and all the trimmings, or you are in a distant place this year, give God thanks.
I’m bringing you some of my previous posts that I hope will bring some smiles, encouragement or whatever it is you need this Thanksgiving holiday.
There, I said it. Happy Thanksgiving, regardless of what you might be going through. This might sound heartless. If you lost loved ones to COVID-19 or some other illness, or you lost your job or your home, the words Happy Thanksgiving may sound like a glass of cold water in your face, but please understand, this is not my intention.
My family has had its share of COVID-19 woes. My husband lost three of his close relatives and all we could do was video call other relatives, comfort each other, and watch a livestream of one of the funerals. Yes, we’re thankful for technology, but technology can’t take the place of being able to hug your loved ones, dry their tears and give them the comfort of your company. It can’t do any of these things, but we’re thankful.
In the same way we’re thankful that we are alive. We can still hear a bird sing, we can talk to someone, share a meal with a person who lives alone or someone who has just lost his/her job. Because of the mask he is wearing, we can’t see his lips part as we hand him our little gift, but when you whisper, “Happy Thanksgiving,” the smile reaches his eyes and he whispers back “Happy Thanksgiving.” You walk away, your steps lighter, your heart warmer, your mind happier. Next year is a new year. COVID-19 won’t last forever. The pain will vanish – in time. Happy Thanksgiving!
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV
I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day with your family. If you are heading out to the beaches, have fun but stay safe. If you are staying home, then try to find some uplifting activities you can do with your family. I know for many of us life still seems strange – I still sometimes do a double take when I see someone wearing a mask – and we wonder when things will return to normal. But while we wait, we can still try to be thankful for what we do have.
It’s easy to give thanks when your day is going well. You’re wearing your favorite t-shirt. You got a great parking spot. Your coffee is the perfect temperature with just the right mix of sugar and creamer. You get lots of likes on the selfie you posted to Instagram and you never heard of something called COVID-19.
But what about those moments like now when things aren’t going so well? Every day seems to bring with it large doses of discomfort, things that gnaw at our peace and rob of us of our joy. In moments like these, giving thanks is difficult. But giving thanks is also essential if you want to navigate these experiences with a positive outlook. This doesn’t mean being phony or pasting on a smile no matter what.
Rather, it’s about taking a moment to shift your focus. Instead of grumbling about all the sadness and uncertainty around us, thank God for what you do have – health, food on the table, family, a roof over your head – things we take for granted, but for some people they are luxuries. Choose to turn the uncomfortable moments in life into thankfulness. Until next time, stay safe!
God, when I’m tempted to complain and grumble, help me to stop and shift my focus. I want to be someone who lives in continual gratitude. Let me never lose sight of the blessings You’ve poured out on me.
Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? – Job 2: 10
Job spoke those words after he’d lost his children, his wealth and was stricken with illness. His wife, obviously devastated by all that had taken place, urged him to “curse God, and die” (v9).
During this pandemic, our faith is being tried to the limit. Some of you may have lost your job and are in danger of losing your home. Others may even be infected with the virus or have loved ones who are. In times like this you feel like you are losing your mind, and like Job’s wife, you may be tempted to curse God and die.
But hold on. God is not done with you yet. This is the time to draw on the measure of faith He’s given all of us. This too will pass.
“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” – Psalm 30: 5
I am not Job, you say. I don’t have that kind of faith. I understand. This is why I’m bringing you this Daily Faith Devotional free of charge. It contains 30 devotionals on how you can be thankful despite what is going on in your life. When you click the link below and download this devotional, your name will be added to my mailing list so you can receive updates on other offers.
Be thankful that God doesn’t change. He is with you on the mountain top, when everything seems to be going right, and He’s with you in the valley when nothing seems to be going right. Reach out to Him, trust Him, He’ll bring you through.
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Every Thanksgiving season we hear a lot about thankfulness. And it’s only appropriate that we express our thanks to others for all they do for us throughout the year. But can we be thankful every day? When we wake up in the morning and our throat hurts because of the flu, or the weather is bad and our car is stuck in the snow? Or worse, you get beaten and thrown into jail for no good reason. The last thought to come to your mind would be thankfulness.
But the Bible tells us that this is what happened to Paul and his friend Silas. They were accused of “advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice” (Acts 16: 10) and were brought before the magistrates who ordered that they be beaten and imprisoned. Paul and Silas did not become bitter or angry. Instead, they prayed and sang praises to God, and something amazing happened. “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose” (v 26).
Everyone’s chains, not just Paul’s and Silas’s. When the jailer saw the prison doors open, he became so afraid he drew his sword to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped, but Paul reassured him that they were all there. This act of thankfulness and praise benefited not just Paul and Silas but those around them. The jailer and his family were all saved and got baptized that very night.
It’s difficult to be thankful when the odds are stacked against you, but if you practice an attitude of thankfulness, it would become automatic. However, in order to do this, you need faith. Faith to know that God is in control no matter how dim things may appear. Know that He will come through for you in His way and His time.
So, let the spirit of Thanksgiving follow you throughout the remainder of this year and into the next. In Colossians 3: 15, Paul writes, ” Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Want peace this holiday season? Be thankful! Happy Thanksgiving!
As a way of saying thanks to those of you who read this blog, I’m offering you a free ebook on how you can prioritize your life so you can find for the things that matter. Just sign up on the form below.
As another Thanksgiving rolls around, it is customary for the conversation around the dinner table to turn to the question above: What are you thankful for? Have you given any thought to what you should be thankful for?
Maybe just looking at the faces around you should provide some answers: Your spouse, children, friends.
It’s very easy to be thankful for those we love, but what about those we can’t stand? That co-worker, that neighbor, that person you meet at the bus stop every morning, why did God bring that person across your path?
This Thanksgiving, think about the people you wish you’d never met, and send up a prayer for them. And the next time you see them, why not give them a smile and a hello? Doing that will relieve you of the stress you feel whenever you come into contact with that person.
And when someone asks you what you are thankful for, say you are thankful for that person, because he/she is helping you become a better person.
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