Giving Thanks

November is here – has been here for over a week – and the stores and mailboxes are already filling up with signs of Christmas. The radio stations haven’t yet begun their Christmas song marathons, but they will soon. Amazon and eBay (among other websites) have even already begun their own countdowns to Christmas.

But wait. Isn’t there another holiday before then? Doesn’t Thanksgiving come first, before we even begin the month of December?

I know, I know. We have to start shopping for presents early – hey, it helps spread out the expenses – and I certainly enjoy listening to Christmas music just about any time of the year.

But what do you say we take time this month to purposefully slow down and consider what we have to be thankful for?

Not just on Thanksgiving Day, as we’re seated around the table, eager to start on the turkey and warmed by the presence of family or friends. What about taking some time every day to purposely give thanks for some things in our lives?

Grab a pen and paper, or open up a Word document, and make the resolve to list 10 things every day for which you are thankful. Try to go beyond the usual “God, family, friends” routine. Think about it.

What can you be give thanks for that, ordinarily, you might grumble about or be discontent with?

For instance:

  • Thankful that we have an inexpensive house to rent; though it’s not in great condition, at least it’s insulated, the doors and windows close all the way, and the roof no longer leaks.
  • Thankful that James can finally be working on his seminary degree; though the schedule is rough, we know that “this too shall pass” and before we know it (Lord willing), he’ll be graduating with his M.Div.
  • Thankful that, although I have a life-long illness, I have many knowledgeable and wise doctors to help me through it.
  • Thankful for the times when Facebook is down, because it gives me motivation to do something more profitable.
  • Thankful for a cell phone that randomly turns off, because it means that I can actually afford a cell phone and calling plan.
  • Thankful for a limited income, because it reminds us to stay disciplined, helps us prioritize our needs, and keeps us focused on what is truly important in life.
  • Thankful for the bugs that randomly swarm outside the house on warm November days, because it brings to mind that one day we will enjoy a New Heaven & Earth, where no traces of sin will mar their perfection.
  • Thankful for brothers and sisters in Christ who can pray for me and with me, because it means that I am not alone in my sufferings.
  • Thankful for difficulty in writing, because it means I have a brain and a God-given ability, and a chance to share the blessings of those things with others.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with giving thanks for other things too – things that don’t really have a downside! I’m also thankful for…

  • Quiet mornings with a cup of coffee and time to write.
  • Coffee beans (see my post on a Morning Cup o’ Joe).
  • Good weather for outdoor exercise.
  • Fresh, pollen-free air to breathe in.
  • Thanksgiving: a government-sanctioned holiday to celebrate being thankful.
  • Artistic God-given talents (both mine and others’).
  • Detailed beauty and color in nature for every season of the year.
  • Medicines that help us when we’re sick.
  • Churches where we can both get fed spiritually and give of ourselves in service.
  • Divine intercession when we don’t quite know how to pray for something.

Oh yes, and I’m also thankful for readers who are willing to comment on my posts (so I know they’re being read!). 🙂

What are you thankful for today?

How about sharing some things YOU are thankful for today?

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