Can we skip Halloween?
October. The calendar says cooler temperatures are coming and with it the time of the year where holidays fill the calendar. Each year I end up frustrated.
Not about Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, but because Thanksgiving is often an after thought between Halloween and Christmas. Specialty stores pop up for Halloween…large box stores. Commercials abound about that holiday. Then we move right into Christmas shopping and decorating. I miss the days when Halloween was much less celebrated and Thanksgiving Day received its rightful due.
Thanksgiving is about so much more than turkey, dressing and a fancy table setting. It’s certainly not about football, although I do enjoy a good game. When the first Thanksgiving was celebrated, it was to thank our Heavenly Father for His provision and protection. It was a celebration that included two very different cultures. Yet, an attitude of gratitude was the heart of the get-together.
A thankful heart brings healthy perspective. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, we thank God for what He has already provided. Think about what you are doing right now. You can read. You accessed this blog through a computer or mobile device that is connected to the internet. You have electricity or cell service. There are still many in our world who do not have those conveniences.
The Psalms are filled with reminders to offer thanksgiving to God. One example is found in Psalm 107:1, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 is a great reminder to always give thanks. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Often, we forget the middle section, in everything give thanks. It is hard to give thanks when we are walking through a trial or difficult circumstance. However, scripture is clear: give thanks. I believe there is always something to be found in each situation for which we can be thankful. When I struggle with this, I remind myself to treat it like a treasure hunt. Search until you find the gem, mine it, for those are the most precious treasures. When we find the precious lesson in the midst of the difficulty, we are more likely to remember it when we struggle in the future. It is the hard lesson or the intense searching that yields the lasting treasure.
Do you anticipate Thanksgiving? Do you pause and reflect on the incredible blessings from your Heavenly Father? Won’t you take the next few weeks leading up to this wonderful holiday and start a list of things for which you are grateful? Here are some ideas to try:
1. Start a new page in your journal and list one new thing each day for which you are thankful and spend a few minutes in prayer thanking God for it.
2. Write a new item each day on a slip of paper and drop it in a jar on your counter, night stand, or other prominent place. Thank God for each blessing. Save that jar and pull out those slips when you face a new struggle. You will be reminded of all God has done and is doing on your behalf.
3. Like #2 above, instead of slips of paper, use leaf cutouts in different fall colors. At Thanksgiving, take all the leaf cut outs and make a Thanksgiving blessing wreath. (This activity works well for children, too.)
4. Let the people in your life know how much you appreciate them. Each day, write a quick note, text or email to someone special in your life, letting them know what their relationship means to you. Take a moment to pray for them.
These are just some ideas. Ask God to show you what will be most meaningful to you as you develop or grow your attitude of gratitude. As you reflect on the blessings you have, your Thanksgiving may be the most peaceful one ever.