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Thanksgiving Day, but why?

In the coming up of the sun and the place where it goes down, In the going out of the wave to the place where it crashes back to shore . . . I can be found. Giving Thanks.

Truly Thanksgiving Day is a day that prompts us to stop and think of being grateful ~ for our God, family, friends and generally-blessed lives. Oh sure, we talk about being grateful throughout the year, but to have a day set aside for it, is brilliant! You know, a long time ago, Americans really were a thankful people. Pilgrims first came together on American soil in 1621 to thank God for helping them bring in a life-sustaining harvest. “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together.” Edward Winslow, governor of Plymouth colony. Note: those first Americans set aside a time of giving God thanks in spite of the number who died in crossing, the hardships they faced when settling, which were many; in the midst of hardship, they thanked God. Indeed those early Americans did what God-fearing people do—they recognized that ‘All good gifts come down from the Father above’1. Accordingly, they stopped to thank God. Already by 1623, giving thanks had become an annual religious observance, and then in 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared an annual national Thanksgiving observance. Note: President Abraham Lincoln declared a time of giving God thanks in the middle of the Civil War, in the midst of hardship, Lincoln set the standard of thanking God--no matter what. Let’s bring this down to a personal level … I have noticed that when I rightly view my humble station before God, I can only have a thankful heart. ‘Remember the old Andrae Crouch song—My Tribute? I included the song in a morning briefing recently; it expresses my thoughts so well: “How can I say thanks for the things you have done for me? Things so undeserved, yet you gave to prove Your love for me. The voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude … All that I am, and ever hope to be I owe it all to Thee. To God be the glory, to God be the glory for the things He has done—With his blood he has saved me, with his power he has raised me, to God be the glory for the things he has done! Just let me live my life and let it be pleasing Lord to Thee, and if I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary …With His blood he has saved me, with his power he has raised me, to God be the glory for the things He has done.” I love that beautiful song. It would seem that being mindful of God’s great love and his many gifts—apart from spiritual things--things like eyesight, hearing, a voice, health, a home, family, clothing, food to eat, a car to drive, etc.--I would be walking around constantly filled with gratitude, right?! Unfortunately, I get sidetracked. I get distracted by life. Life reminds me I am not as young as I used to be, that there is always more work to be done, that marriage is not always easy, being a mother can tax every fiber of my being, and being the one who oft comes alongside people in their muck to love and support them—well, can rip my heart out! And so, being grateful to God can slip my mind. One thing I have noticed -- a sense of entitlement is mutually exclusive to a life of thanksgiving. When people feel ‘entitled’ to have this, or do that, or go there, gratitude slips away. Or is it because gratitude has slipped away, that a sense of entitlement takes its place? Which comes first? Something to think about. Yet when I choose to be thankful, when I have a spirit of gratefulness—when I am fully aware of how much I have for which to be grateful—I am a different person and so are you, dear friend. Humble, aware, filled with joy and awe, that God should think of us, that we should know his grace! O, might we choose to camp in thankfulness—not just for this one day, but daily. Stopping to think of the hardships of those pilgrims from long ago, considering for one instant the gut-wrenching heartache of Civil War Americans, stirs an awareness that some of us are in the 'challenge of our lifetime' right now - myself included. But here is what I know and can honestly tell you: an awareness of God's presence with me, his gentle, guiding hand at my back, his voice telling me to turn to the right or to the left2, along with his invitation to Come to Him for rest3, reminds me yet again to look up and thank him. Because why? The LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.4 Because God is good ... all the time, let’s be intentional about giving thanks . . . all the time. I pray you will be aware of God's goodness, presence, guiding hand, voice of direction, and invitation for rest, my friend. A Blessed Thanksgiving to you, Christine 1 - James 1.17 2 - Isaiah 30.21 3 - Matthew 11.28-29 4 - Psalm 100.5

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