Monday, November 22, 2010

Season of Gratitude

Thursday is Thanksgiving.  To me, it's the most wonderful time of the year.  Over the years I have grown to love this holiday and I am quite protective of it.  Football and parades, while fun, just simply don't cut it for this day anymore.  This should be a time of year that brings all Christians to their knees in grateful worship of their Provider. (I don't have a problem with football and parades.  But if that is all the holiday is to someone, why bother?  We can do that on any Saturday or Sunday of the year.)

I strive to bring to my children an understand of all that we have to be thankful each year.  We focus on the history mostly.  This is our history.  We are the only country in the world that can celebrate this day.  It's unique to America.  Without the Pilgrims we just simply wouldn't be here.  It was their heroic journey across the Atlantic that gave birth to this great nation.  While Jamestown was already in existence when the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, it was the Pilgrims rich religious life that contributed to our nation being founded on the Christian principles that our founding fathers used to shape our nation.  It's this day that we remember all that.

Sadly, we've lost much of it.  Christians have many great reasons to celebrate and give thanks to God.  Because of the abundance we enjoy, it's very easy to forget the reasons we must be thankful.  But I don't want to forget.  I don't want my children to forget.  This is why I write today.

I have much to be thankful this year.

1.  I have a new baby who is very precious.

2.  I have a new niece who is beautiful.

3.  I have a growing friendship with my niece's mom.

4.  God has given me seven wonderful kids.

5.  I have a husband who loves and leads me in Christ.

6.  I love my church family.

7.  The life of my brother.  God took him to the brink of death and then spared his life.  He will experience his first Christmas with his baby girl this year and, hopefully, many more.

There are little daily things for which we should be thanking God.  Food.  I get to eat today - THREE times.  Many people in the world can't say that.  I have an abundance of clothing filling my closet.  My children are well.  Many families cannot claim that this year.  They will be sitting in the hospital with their sick babies.  My family owns two cars - what percentage of people in the world can say that?  This country that we live in can claim the one of highest percentage of wealth in the world.  Sadly, even those who fall below the poverty line in our country can claim they have greater wealth that some people in other nations.  I am not making light of those who are in poverty in our country, just trying to shed light for those of us who don't.

Perspective!!  We all need perspective as we enter into the holiday season.  I would argue that it needs to be carried over into the Christmas season when materialism is rampant.  We are in need of nothing and for that, we should be praising God.

Enjoy the football games.  Enjoy the parades this year.  Enjoy the huge feast with your family.  Enjoy the long nap when you're finished.  But please, whatever you do, give more thanks and praise to God this year than just the family meal prayer.  He's provided much for you and your family this year.  Besides, His holiness demands more than the token prayer before everyone dives in.

What are some ways that you and your children can focus on the way God has provided for you this year?  My children and I have several traditions that we do each year that bring to light all our blessings.  I will be sharing those later, as time allows.  Please feel free to share with me.  I am always looking for fun ideas to enhance this time of year and our celebrations.  

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