photo courtesy of Priscilla du Pree on Unsplash
It can be a challenge to consider an attitude of thanksgiving when life around us feels painful and out of control. Natural disasters don’t help; hurricane Ian set a lot of people back in Florida, and we’re still dealing with insurance and repairs. COVID continues to have a grip on many. Loss happens no matter who we are.
Combine this with the unrest over the story of the first Thanksgiving, the discomfort over how people are portrayed, and the bigger picture of what that time in history was like. Traditions and ways of rendering a picture to children of that time are more confusing and less straightforward.
In the midst of difficulty, disappointment, and disruption what does anyone have to be thankful about?
Being thankful is a choice. The brokenness of the world lends a shadow of fear and concern to much of life; hard issues feel accentuated and hope seems diminished.
Swiss writer and philosopher Henri Frederic Amiel said, “Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” Being genuinely thankful reflects a sincere heart.
Not like how my children were when they were little. When they received something from someone with no response, I’d always ask, “What do you say?” And they’d mumble, “Thanks.” Words with no heart don’t impact or impress anyone. Being forced to thank someone doesn’t make them thankful.
I try to be consciously grateful to people who offer assistance no matter what the circumstances are. It’s surprising how many appear astonished at the small kindness–and it costs nothing.
Cicero, the Roman statesman and philosopher, stated, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of the other virtues. Being thankful has always been foundational for healthy living, thriving relationships, and peaceful interactions.
The One who deserves the best of our thanks is God, Creator, and Sustainer of the world.
“Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in His hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.” Psalm 95:1-4
We are all here purposefully. None of us is a mistake–God doesn’t make mistakes. He creates opportunities for us to be our best through His power and love.
There will always be things to complain about, things that disappoint us.
How much more encouraging, though, is focusing on what we can be grateful for.
Even in our challenging times.
Hope doesn’t disappoint.
For that, we can be grateful.