Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. I do miss my American Thanksgiving! It's been several years since we've celebrated this holiday in addition to Canadian Thanksgiving, but this year, we're traveling a few hours to visit friends who are also Americans living in Canada, and we're going to "be American" for a day. I'm looking forward to having turkey and all the trimmings; I'm even taking some good ol' southern cornbread dressing for our friends to try! I'm sure there will be lots of good fellowship, laughter, giving of thanks, and maybe even a few tears as we remember God's goodness to us. But even in the midst of the actual giving thanks, sitting at the table or praying before the meal, I've realized in the past that I've come to the table with words of thanks on my lips, but no attitude of thanksgiving in my heart.
This year, to prepare my heart for true thanksgiving, I made an acrostic of the word THANKS to remind me of all the things I have to be thankful for.
Time - Does that sound crazy? Benjamin Franklin said, "Time is the stuff life is made of." When you consider that time is a treasure, you begin to value it. Some people learned this year that their time here or their time with a loved one is limited, and others one day found they had no more time with a loved one. I have a friend whose granddaughter has a brain tumor. I have a cousin who has colon/rectal cancer. My mother died very young, never allowed the time to meet her son-in-law or her grandchildren. Time is precious! The only difference between most of us and these people is that they have a much better idea of how much time they have left. We aren't promised tomorrow (James 4:14), so we should treasure our time today and show our thankfulness by using our time wisely (Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5) I'm so thankful to have time to spend with family, to serve the Lord, to do fruitful work!
Happiness - I thank the Lord for joy! The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10); it is what enables us to get through hard times.
Access - Prayer! How wonderful that we have the privilege of going directly to our God with our problems and needs and have the assurance that He hears us (Hebrews 4:16)! We can come boldly to Him with our requests, and Philippians 4:6,7 tells us to pray with thanksgiving so that we might have the peace of God.
Necessities and Niceties - I'm thankful for having my needs met (Philippians 4:19) and for the extras that aren't needs (I Timothy 6:17), but nice to have. I enjoy my little electric fireplace. It's not something I need at all, but the Lord has allowed me to have it, just for my enjoyment. I like having an iPod. Definitely not a necessity, but so nice to have all my music and several Christian radio stations at my fingertips. We have so many things in our North American culture that we just take for granted, never stopping to thank God for all the material blessings He's given us that we don't even truly need! I read the other day that if you make $60,000 a year, you are in the top 1% of the world's population for wealth. That's mind-boggling!
Kindred - I had to fit my family in there somewhere, didn't I?! I thank the Lord so much for my goodly heritage (Psalm 16:6). My parents and my husband's parents are all saved and serving the Lord faithfully. All of our brothers and sisters are in church, some even in full-time ministry. We are so blessed not to have the problems and issues that come from having unsaved family members who don't understand the lifestyle we lead. We're blessed to have our children serving the Lord; what sweet fulfillment there is in seeing our children serve God (III John 4)! I'm so blessed to have a husband who loves me, who tenderly and faithfully cares for me (Ephesians 5:25). Thank God for my family!
Salvation - This greatest gift of God fills my heart as I reflect on His overwhelming love for me (Jeremiah 31:3)! I'm so thankful that almost 40 years ago, God saved my dad and changed our lives. I was saved many years later, but I'm thankful for that beginning and my childhood years spent in a godly home. I'm thankful that God never let me rest until I made my salvation sure. I love that sweet assurance in my soul that I am a child of God! (Romans 8:16)
These are a few of the things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving Week.
What are you thankful for?