I LOVE Christmas. The whole Christmas season. But, as my children are getting bigger, I'm realizing how commercial it has become, and how commercial I have let it become. So, while I still love Christmas, Thanksgiving is quickly becoming my favorite of all the holidays. Don't get me wrong, I'll probably look at the advertisements on Thanksgiving, and I'll probably do some Black Friday shopping, but I love that Thanksgiving about giving, not getting.
First, lets break it down. Thanks giving. Giving thanks. For the past few years, I've tried to focus on thing to give thanks for on each day in November. It amazes me, that by the end of the month, I still have so many things for which to be thankful. I've also noticed, that over time, it gets easier to be thankful. Of course, there are the obvious things, God, family, friends, home, food, etc., but what about the tough things? Should we be thankful for stressful things?
I say yes. And the Bible says yes. Romans 5:3-5 says that we should "glory" in our sufferings because of the results. Perseverance, character, and hope. Things that we wouldn't gain without suffering. It's not easy, I'm the first to admit. And there are some things that we simply won't take glory in (abuse, etc) There's some deep, tough, things that I pray none of us will ever have to go through. But our everyday stress isn't life ending. It's molding us. It gives us character to know how to deal with future stress, and to help others as they go through difficult times.
But why? Why should we be thankful?
As many of you know, I have at times had issues with anxiety. I've let other people and situations control my feelings. I'm also very fortunate that God has placed people in my life that have helped me to overcome much of this. A scripture I hadn't really taken to heart until recently is Philippians 4:6-7. This scripture tells us that we shouldn't be anxious (easier said than done, right?!). Rather, we should pray about our situation, with thanksgiving. Once we do this, we are promised that the peace of Jesus will protect us.
For me, this has been so true. For so many years, I've dealt with difficulty by either stuffing it inside, or praying for God to take it away. I've never considered that while waiting for a situation to change, that I should consider all I already have. All that I've been given. When we focus on being thankful, our entire thought process changes. We no longer find discontentment in what we don't have, we find joy in what we do have.
Today, I challenge you to look at your day through different eyes. Try to see the blessing in each situation. Too many dishes to do? Thank God that He has provided you with food. Stressful work day? Thank God that you have a job. Kids not listening? Thank God for your children - there's plenty of people that would kill to have a child. You see, when we see all that we've been blessed with, the temporary stress doesn't seem as big. Take joy in your day. Soak in every moment and enjoy every good thing.
Blessings to you and yours.