Practicing Gratitude at Thanksgiving

There’s a turkey to brine, bathrooms to clean, tables to set and lists to check. Thoughts like these consume us each November.

But have we lost the most important part of the Thanksgiving holiday? How sad it is that these get most of our attention. It’s understandable that planning for the day’s celebration is necessary, but please remember there’s so much to be thankful for.

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What’s Your Responsibility at Thanksgiving?

picture from Creationswap.com

picture from Creationswap.com

This is the season where families get together; celebrating the special closeness that you share. Yet so many families are splintered … feelings have been hurt over forgotten issues … that wearing a painted smile and staying close to the liquor cabinet are the best ways to deal. There’s more to Thanksgiving than sharing turkey. It’s time to make amends with one another; it’s a time for families to heal.

It wasn’t an accident that you were placed with your family. God’s plan put you there. Yet so many think they can improve that plan by putting walls of unmet expectations and hurt feelings around their hearts.

“I don’t want to be hurt anymore.”  “You don’t know what they did to me.”  “We have nothing in common; it’s best we just keep our distance and live our lives apart.”

All those sound good, right? But these statements are all self-serving … and wrong!

If you have hurt someone, apologize. If you have been hurt, forgive. It wasn’t suggested by God, it was what he told us to do:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35 (NIV)

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matt. 5:23-24 (NIV)

“… If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:3-4 (NIV)

Did you get it? Did you see? Jesus died for the person you’re upset with or the person who’s upset with you. They have value. You have value. That value isn’t about you; it’s about our Heavenly Father. How would that Thanksgiving meal be if we sat at the same table as our Lord and our estranged family members?

Think about it, and don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Have a Happy … and Healthy … Thanksgiving!