It is that time of year again. Holiday music starting to play, some crisper days with chilly temperatures and the calendar filling up with holiday celebrations.
First up, Thanksgiving.
How are your preparations?
It’s usually at this point in the season that I get sent in as a cleanup hitter to pick up items at the grocery store that were missed in the first pass.
They already got the big stuff: the turkey, the stuffing, and a pie or two. But, we forgot the cranberry sauce (because no one eats that stuff anyway), the celery/olives/pickles that you put out just to make it feel like you’re trying to eat right, and the cream cheese for the last minute cheese ball.
Yep, finishing the list is important if you want to be ready for the big day. I wonder if we make the same effort to be prepared to actually be thankful on this day we called Thanksgiving. I mean, we named the day after thankfulness… I think we should give it a shot.
In fact, I’ve come to believe in studying God‘s word that thankfulness is actually one of the signs of spiritual maturity that let you know you’re making progress. The Apostle Paul was one of those who was thankful no matter the circumstances. Let his words be our guide this holiday season:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Let me start a shopping list for you, not one for you to run to the store and pick up, but one you can assemble right at home in your prayer closet.
If were truly going to be thankful we will need a big cup of self awareness: so many times we are not grateful because we haven’t taken stock of how blessed we are. A few minutes praying through, writing down, or speaking out loud the good things that we have and have experienced will sometimes put it in perspective.
I would also grab a couple of cans of expectations. Things may not be exactly the way you want them in the moment, but when you follow the God that I know you’ll soon discovered that you’re being set up… for the next move, for breakthrough, for hope, for blessing. Praying in expectation that God has heard, does love, and will answer… Now that will add Some thankfulness to your holiday.
Also, pick up a big bag of get over yourself. Yeah, maybe not the tone you expect from a holiday article, but come on… you know we need a heaping helping of that. It’s hard to be thankful when we haven’t looked around, and seen the needs of others and not just how blessed we are in comparison, but the joy of seeing how we might be used by God to help in their life.
Looking outward not only get your eyes off of the things that you think are inadequate or troublesome in your own life, but it gives you the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s. I can tell you, one of the best ways to become thankful is to live in a way that makes others thankful.
Sure, there are a few more things that may round out your thankfulness meal, but this is a good starting point.
Let me encourage you as a CrossPointer to remember how blessed we are, let that fill your heart, and take a step or two to share that reason for thankfulness with someone else this holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving… I’m thankful for you, I’m thankful for our blessings, and I’m thankful for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Seeking more of Him and less of me,
Pastor Andy Addis