Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of all the holidays. What’s there not to love? We have the three “F’s”: Food, Family, and Football, and don’t forget the beautiful colors and the cooler weather. It’s just fantastic in every way. I love Thanksgiving! However, more than anything, it is what the holiday represents…being thankful! Even though we should be thankful all year round, I believe it’s a beautiful day for us to refocus our attitudes. Personally speaking, Thanksgiving is a time to focus on having an “attitude of gratitude.” I wish I had thought of that phrase, but I heard it many years ago. I’m not sure who said that phrase, but I like it!
You see, there are many times when we can get lost in the trials and difficulties of life. Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be difficulties, just the hurriedness and craziness of this world. We can lose focus on how blessed we are. We forget that despite what we might be facing or going through, others will always face much worse things somewhere in this world. One of my favorite verses to focus on this time of year is 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Every difficult situation is leading us and shaping us for the destiny that Christ has for us. You may ask, do you believe this? Yes, I do! I believe this because the Bible testifies to it. God has an amazing plan for all of us, and He uses everything in our lives to shape us into who He wants us to be. Look at Joseph in the Old Testament. He’s one of my favorite characters in the Bible. He was known as “the dreamer” by his brothers. This was not a compliment. Instead, it was meant as a criticism. If you read the story in Genesis chapters 37-50, you’ll find his brothers hated him because he was a dreamer. I won’t go into the whole story, but the point being is Joseph went from son to slave and from slave to ruler. In the end, Joseph can punish those who brought so much pain into his life. However, he sees through the pain and the desire for payback and says these words in Genesis 50:20: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” I know those are some powerful words. Do you understand that God has a plan? God is using everything in our life to work His plan to its fullest. He doesn’t cause the pain, but He uses it. He uses the pain and other things in our life to shape us. Jeremiah prophesied that God is the Potter and we are the Clay.
Paul writes to us in his letter to the Romans, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). So, what do I have to be thankful for? Well, everything… every victory, every loss, every mountain, every valley, every sorrow, every moment of joy! In life and death, in all things, we are thankful because we have a God who is working all things for our good. So, this Thanksgiving, take time to refocus, and yes… Grab hold of an “attitude of gratitude.” I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may the blessings of God continue to flow in your life. My prayer for all of us this Thanksgiving is that we will understand we have much to be thankful for.