It’s a holiday here in the United States, and I struggled considering whether or not to write about being thankful on Thanksgiving. It seemed just a little too easy and far too cliché. At the same time, I have been learning the importance of reflection, so I know it’s important to take the time to pause and consider how much God has done for us. Holidays are ideal for this sort of activity. They are markers along the road of our lives. Just as Joshua set up a pillar of stones to mark the passage into the Promised Land and as a reminder of where they had been (Joshua 4), days like Thanksgiving can serve to remind us of all that Christ has done for us.
Thanksgiving Day is generally filled with travelling to gather with families, eating a large meal, sharing a lot of conversation, and – in a large number of households – watching football. The day passes in a blur of activity, and concludes with us feeling overstuffed, lethargic, and ready for bed. Through all of this, I want to encourage you to find some time to simply reflect on your life over the past year. Take at least thirty minutes to get alone in prayer, and have a pen and paper handy to jot down some notes. Sacrifice sleeping in to get up in the quiet of the morning and spend some time with God. If you simply can’t find the time to do this today, try to accomplish this before the weekend is over.
Where were you a year ago today? What was going on in your life? As you look back over the past year, can you see the moments God intervened to bring about something unexpected? What good things have transpired in the last year? What tragedies or pitfalls did you encounter? It’s important to list the good and the bad, because life is not all roses and God can work through any circumstance to bring about His intentions for you.
Next, take a mental inventory of all the blessings in your life. Think about your family, your friends, where you live, and where you work. Consider those less fortunate that yourself. In what ways are you grateful for the life you live?
Finally, reflect on where you would be without the love of Jesus. How would your life be different if He had not sacrificed His life for you? Picture what He endured for your sake when He was nailed to the cross and died so you might live. Reflect on His patience and how many times Christ has forgiven you for rejecting Him, for disobeying Him, and even denying Him. Consider the unfailing love of God and be thankful for everything He has done for you.
This year, whether or not it’s a holiday where you live, take some time this day to remember how merciful and gracious our compassionate God is. Praise Him for all He has done for you, and the ways in which He provides. Worship Him for His infinite wisdom and holiness. He has given us everything through His Son, Jesus. We are nothing without Him, but everything with Him living in us. We are children of the King. Be thankful.
What are you most thankful for this year? Encourage one another by sharing your thoughts and leaving a comment below.