Thanksgiving is be one of my favorite holidays.
It’s also the most overlooked, underrated and unappreciated holidays we celebrate.
I’ve driven around town and have watched folks segue from ghouls, goblins and ghosts to Santa, sleds and snowmen overnight. From eerie orange lights and spider webs cascading over bushes to bright whites and multitudes of colors blinking from every nook and cranny.
What happened to the Pilgrims?
So much of what we celebrate with Thanksgiving isn’t completely true. The Pilgrims weren’t huge fans of the Native Americans living in New England, but they needed them to survive. The Native Americans were people of true hospitality–their religion required them to give to others who had need.
The Pilgrims had a lot of need.
It might not have been a companionable feast, probably more guarded than friendly, but it was one of gratitude. It had been a tough winter for the Pilgrims, and the people of the land were gracious in providing food for these foreigners.
But it’s easier to whine. To lose sight of what I have. To ignore what is mine, not necessarily by my own hand, but because I’ve been born in a time and place that has amenities I can’t imagine not having.
I crabbed this week when the temperature hit 88 here in Florida and our air conditioning went out. I whined about the rain, which has been non-stop for several days. More mess, more mold, more mud. But we need it to fill the aquifers. I complained about the inconvenience of not having a car that worked–or looked–like I wanted it to. I griped about the details of the dinner I wanted to make to bless others.
I wasn’t choosing to be thankful.
Being thankful is a choice. Life won’t work out exactly the way I want it to. But so much of what I have is good. Family. Friends. A roof over my head. Food to share with others. A purpose for my life. A God who loves me and has saved me. That heaven is my destiny.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1 “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.” Psalm 95:2-3
Life is hard. For everyone. We’ve all got stuff that is painful, uncomfortable, grievous. But we’ve also all got something for which we can be thankful. It might just be the fact that woke up this morning.
Take the time to consider what you can thank God for. Dwell on it. Savor it. Gratitude is contagious.
And even though it’s a holiday, put the whine away.
First photo courtesy of commerce.gove
Second photo courtesy of sunrisegroup.org.
Third photo courtesy of happythanksgivingpictures-2014.com.