by Linda Rex
Note to self: Shop for Thanksgiving before Halloween, not after.
I was rather frustrated this year when I found that the Halloween items took precedence over the Thanksgiving items at the store. In fact, once Halloween was over, it was next to impossible to find any Thanksgiving, fall or harvest decoration and gift items to buy. I had assumed (wrongly) that they would stay on the shelf until Thanksgiving. But apparently they only stay until Halloween is over and then it’s time for Christmas.
I forget sometimes how our mercantile system drives our culture, especially when it comes to our celebration of our holidays. I’m happy to have access to so many fun things to celebrate with, but it is obvious that our culture has moved beyond the Judeo-Christian basis for its holidays.
Whether or not one is a Christian, there is always a place for gratitude in one’s life. Gratitude is a way of thinking and living that genuinely appreciates the little and big things of life as gifts. It is a way of being thankful for the people and relationships and blessings that come to us everyday unbidden and unsought—the air we breathe, a beautiful sunset, dear friends and family, a newborn baby.
When we lose our appreciation for these things that come into our life with or without our effort, we may become calloused, cold, and cynical. Nothing is ever enough for us—we will always need or want more. We can become sad, depressed and overwhelmed by all the negative stuff in life.
Gratitude in some ways is a discipline—a choice in how we approach life and the events we encounter day by day. When we make the effort to pause and be grateful for what we have and share it with others, we begin to have a more positive attitude and spirit with which to approach life.
Our gratitude and appreciation for all the good things of life, in my view, merely points to the reality that we have been given life, breathe, all the resources we need to be alive and to live blessed because of God’s grace. We can believe that God does not exist, but the truth is, we would not exist if it weren’t for his kindness and mercy in sustaining what he created.
And that wasn’t good enough for God—just giving us life and breath and food and things we could do. He wanted a relationship with us as well—so he came to our universe, to our earth to live as one of us. He forged a permanent bond with us in Jesus Christ—living a perfect life we could participate in, dying our death so we could live with him forever, bringing us into the presence of God so we could be in relationship with the Creator our Redeemer forever.
To me, that gives us every reason to celebrate not just once a year, but every day, with gratitude.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! May God bless you abundantly each and every day throughout this holiday season!
Lord, I give you thanks for all the wonderful people and blessings you have poured into my life. I pray you will watch over each of those who are reading this and bless them in every way. Let them feel your presence and peace in a deep way so they may be able to endure whatever hardships they are facing or struggling with. Thank you for your faithful love shown to us in Jesus. Amen.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1