Almost four hundred years ago, Pilgrims feasted with their Native Americans friends in Plymouth to celebrate a successful harvest.
More than one hundred fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day to thank God for courage and strength as a civil war threatened to tear the nation apart.
In our own times, families and friends gather to share memories of struggles and blessings.
Thanksgiving Day is upon us.
What will you do with it?
Food, travel, sporting events, shopping, relaxing on a day off from work or school – the possibilities are endless.
What will you do with Thanksgiving Day?
No matter where you are on Thanksgiving Day, there is something you – each of us – should do.
Give thanks to God.
Because you are reading this, I know several things to be true. You are alive. You have a home and clothing and food and an Internet-capable device. You are better off than millions of people around the world.
And you are loved.
On Thanksgiving Day, you may feel alone. In fact, you may be alone. It may be your choice – or not. It may be your fault – or not.
But you are loved.
And with a love that will never fail you nor forsake you.
For just a few moments on Thanksgiving Day, forget the turkey. Forget the stuffing and the pies. Forget the football games. Forget the shopping. Instead, embrace the silence and feel the love of God.
And be grateful.
Michael Hyatt, a popular writer on the subjects of intentional leadership and personal development, has identified four compelling reasons for us to be grateful in our lives:
1. Gratitude reduces our stress by redirecting our attention from our difficulties to the benefits we enjoy.
2. Gratitude inoculates us from negative emotions by focusing on what we have rather than what we don’t have or how our decisions could have turned out better.
3. Gratitude sustains our relationships by drawing people together, building trust, and strengthening ties in the workplace, among friends, and in families.
4. Gratitude improves our health by helping us sleep better, control our blood pressure, and generally reduce physical complaints.
Even more importantly, being grateful to God for the blessings we have received (and, yes, we have all received blessings in our lives) helps us focus on God, not our own circumstances; it helps us trust God; and it helps us wait patiently on God as His plans for us unfold.
So, what will you do with Thanksgiving Day? Whatever else you do, give thanks to God.
For His grace.
For His love.
For faith in Jesus, forgiveness through Jesus, and a future – eternal life – with Jesus.
Give thanks to the Lord of heaven and earth!
-- Dr. John Morris