I sat down to write something for Thanksgiving, but for the first time in a long while, I don’t know what to write. I have so many thoughts swirling through my brain in a chaotic mess, and the page in front of me remains blank. Autumn tends to do that to me. The sights, the smells, the breezes…..it all makes me feel like a young child again. Nostalgic, maybe.
We have so much to be thankful for….do we realize it? I have a tendency to go through life, marking things off that list and moving on, not relishing and enjoying and looking for ways the Lord has blessed me throughout the day.
Our lives are beautiful — did you know that? They are full of things that are beautiful and precious and point us towards Christ….if we only stop and look for them. We would see His glory in so many things, if we would only stop and take the time to pay attention.
I see Him as I play with little siblings. As log towers crash to the ground, as cars go “zroom-ing” around, as we play Ring-Around-the-Rosie and “all fall down”.
We can be grateful for each day we are alive. For the wonder of His creation as we walk outside with siblings. For the beauty that surrounds us this time of year, as the leaves fall to the ground creating a wonderful carpet of colour and the wild flowers are blooming in profusion. As the deer start moving in the cool evenings and mornings, and the evenings are a beautiful shroud of fogginess…thick, white, beautiful fog. As the grass is white with frost when we wake up and our breath puffs white smoke, and the rose bushes glisten in beauty.
For each time I can cook with a little sibling , I am thankful. For each giggle and laugh and coo, I realize what a miracle each and every soul is from God. All the aromas wafting throughout the house, all the fall colours and pumpkins and pies and sweet potatoes.
I am grateful for each and every member of our military, past and present. For all those who have given all to serve our country, to keep those of us at home safe, to preserve our freedom and way of life. For all that they see, for all that they do, for all that they have done. For those who have given up their youth to fight wars, to train, to protect; for those who have waited at home for their return. For the children who wait to hug their daddies, for the wives who wait for their husbands, for the mothers who long for their sons to be back in their arms.
I am grateful for the music which fills this world. For the violinist who makes his bow dance across his strings, in utter jubilance. For the pianist who makes the keys of the piano sigh with unspoken longing, for the cellist who manages to convey so much through the lower notes. I am thankful to hear children singing along in praise to our great King — grateful and humbled as they sing with abandon, not caring who is around or if they are singing the right tune or the right key or the right note. Only to sing in a wonderful, beautiful way for the King of Kings.
I am awed into praise by so many things. For the missionaries overseas who serve, unseen, in so many areas. For those who daily live with the threat of persecution and rejection and still find joy in the midst of pain and sorrow and suffering. For my pastor who preaches faithfully Sunday after Sunday after Sunday.
I am filled with praise as the breeze catches my hair and gently tangles it, as the branches sway and whisper in the wind and a myriad of leaves come fluttering down. As the acorns come tumbling down, and the pecans land with a clatter and little brothers race to fill up buckets, so we can enjoy the goodness of those nuts all year long. For each sunset that causes me to catch my breath at the wonderful beauty that is painted in the sky, the rich pinks and purples and nameless, glorious colours, hung there for our pleasure.
I am so very grateful for all those who have gone before me, fighting battles so I don’t have to. For those who stood against the recognized church and translated and printed Scripture, so that hundreds of years later, I have a Bible sitting on my hope-chest, waiting to be opened and read tonight. For those who made their way over to America, facing so very many unknowns to establish a community, where they could have freedom to worship God.
I am amazed and thankful for all the gifted authors out there who write so many beautiful things. Who use words to make you feel and experience something new. Who fill you with longing to do better; with desire to go and do something to help. Who weave beautiful word pictures and cause tears to course down your cheeks, or smiles and laughter to wreath your face with joy, or sighs of expectancy or sorrow or waiting to escape your lips.
There are so many things making headlines right now. So many shootings, murders, and scandals. So much ugliness, sin being glorified, and fear surrounds us daily. Life is a gift. A wonderful, beautiful gift. And in the midst of suffering there is always something to be thankful for. As I wrote several years ago on this blog: “How many times do we cry out to the Lord during adversity and never think about Him in times of peace? How many times do we thank Him for trials? Do you thank Him for the brain surgery? For taking the child you wanted to hold to be with Him before you ever saw it — almost before you knew you were carrying a new little soul? We can thank Him when we discover He has indeed blessed us with a life to cherish…..How many times do we seek to be close to the Lord in times of blessed contentment? How close do we get to be to Him during times of grief and mourning?…..When we are tempted, tossed on what seems a never ending sea of turmoil — when we are brought face to face with the fact that we are, indeed, human, and can’t change eternity — when we find ourselves in a situation that we can’t control — we instinctively know Who turn to. The One that even the winds and the waves obey. The One that controls everything — has ordained everything — and we long to be close to Him. We long, with an innate, unsatisfied thirst, to be intimate with Him. We place ourselves — our very lives — into His hands unhesitatingly — because there is no where else to turn to. Should this be so? Should it be this way?”
Pondering the things the Lord has blessed us with is a beautiful way to cultivate gratefulness in our lives. Now, I know we are supposed to be thankful every day of our lives. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. But some days it is just so hard. We need to purpose to find things to be thankful for when all is calm and serene. We need to thank Him when life is falling to pieces around us. We need to thank God for the little things, for the beautiful, daily things we take for granted each day of our lives. For the things that cause our eyes to fill up with tears, for the things that make us laugh aloud in wonder, for the things that cause us to catch our breath in awe-filled wonder.
I didn’t intend to write any of this….and yet I did. Because I am looking for ways — small ways — to be thankful this year to the Creator of all. To give Him the praise and thanks He is due.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. May you take time to truly reflect and see what a wonderful, merciful, mighty Saviour we have been so very graciously given!