This week, the United States will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s the busiest day of the year for airlines, and highways will be crammed with people heading home to gather with family and friends.
I have so much to thank God for this year. We have two new little grandboys. This summer, we had a lovely vacation. My husband and I celebrated 34 years of marriage.
As I thought about all the joy, I heard a voice from deep inside challenge me. For every blessing I saw, there were many more I didn’t recognize. What about the gifts that were given in unexpected places?
Thankful in the Moment
Giving thanks is easier looking in the rear-view mirror. If you sit quietly long enough, memories of past happy times, laughter and special moments will come rolling in. Looking backward over the year lifts my thanks from heart to pen. I can write about the landmark events with ease…the celebrations, holidays, vacations and personal victories.
But now my heart asks, “What about giving thanks for ‘right now’, this minute?” In other words, what about the ordinary times?
It’s a great question, isn’t it? It certainly cuts to the heart of spirituality. St. Paul says:
Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God for you. 1 Thess 5:18
So I say: Thank you Father for my warm clothes on this cold day. Thank you for the food in my kitchen and the clean air I breathe – and for a computer that allows me to publish on my blog. Thank you for my family and friends who show me love every day, and a faith in You that sustains and feeds me no matter what’s happening in my life.
Thankful in the Hard Times
I guess you could say that ‘thank you’ doesn’t come naturally in a storm. Am I able to see blessing in events that are bewildering or even hurtful? Hmm. Another good question. I wondered at how many things have happened over this past year that were sad, even upsetting. I’m supposed to find thanks in those things? Okaaaay…
My most immediate headache has been renewing our medical insurance coverage. Because my husband remains without steady employment, we get our health coverage from the health exchange, i.e. “Obamacare”.
Oy. That’s one topsy-turvy system my friends. ‘Confusing’ and ‘frustrating’ are words that come to mind.
Our current plan was deleted for 2016, so we had to find another one. Now we’ll be paying over twice as much in premiums for less coverage. (As my husband said, “Good think you broke your leg in 2015!” Um, right… Hey! Something else to be thankful for!)
So I say: Thank you Father, we have coverage. There is no doubt we’d be truly challenged without this help. Trying to navigate the system, all I saw was challenge and frustration. But tucked away in those moments, there You were, guiding us with your strong hand.
At the table this year, when it’s time to pray over the Thanksgiving dinner, I want to remember ALL my blessings. The ones that were easy to remember, the ones that looked like trials, the ones right in front of my eyes.
And I’ll thank God for you. Yes, especially you, for making this blog a interactive, peaceful, and friendly place. You never fail to encourage me.
Surrounded by the Spirit on Facebook
Dear Friends, I will be taking a blog-break now until January 2016. The holidays are coming, and I want to be truly present to the joys in every day; and to prayer and preparation in the Advent Season.
Happy Thanksgiving! May God bless you and yours abundantly now, and in the Christmas Season. See you in January, with a new word for the year!