Sometime today, in the midst of all the busyness and preparations, take some unhurried time to pause and give thanks.
Human nature is not naturally thankful.
It has a dissatisfied, forgetful, ungrateful propensity that engages in comparing, complaining, and self-pity–which makes us and everyone around us more miserable.
Thanksgiving counteracts this downward nasty drift into ingratitude and soured souls.
Giving thanks is thus a positive source of good.
It’s contagious. It leads to more giving thanks, and leads others who hear it into giving thanks.
It reminds us of all the good we’ve forgotten that still surrounds us if we chose to see it.
And it reminds us we didn’t deserve any of it.
If we’re sick of all the complaining, don’t just tell people to stop.
Start positively giving thanks in response to complaining.
So let’s try a little exercise today….
First Look at Your Relationships
Give thanks for ten things you appreciate about your spouse, and for ten things you value about your children.
Then say it out loud to them.
Give thanks for ten things your parents did right or for ten life lessons you learned from them.
Write them a note letting them know.
Count up all the friends you’ve ever had in your life, and all the good you’ve known through them.
Call one of them up and make their day.
Think about all the jobs you’ve ever had, and give thanks for all the paychecks you received and the skills you gained and the people you met.
If you tell your boss, you might change him or her in ways you can’t imagine.
Think about your travels and vacations, and give thanks for the natural and cultural wonders you’ve seen.
Think about your education–your teachers, schools, courses of study–and give thanks you are no longer in ignorance and illiteracy.
Nothing would cheer educators up so much than to hear from a blessed, former student.
Now Look Around Your Home
Do you live in a home? Is it heated? Separate rooms for everyone? Running hot and cold water? Electricity?
Is there Food in the frig and in the pantry? Clothes in your closets? Cars in the driveway? Gadgets and devices unheard of in earlier times? Fully furnished and decorated?
That’s right, you’re part of the richest 1% who’ve ever lived on the planet!
Lots of Third-World folks would love to trade places with you, and can only fantasize about the kind of material prosperity you enjoy every single day.
They can’t imagine not wondering where their next meal comes from, or not having to walk miles to the nearest clean, running water or needing to haul it back on foot.
You can’t imagine worrying about these basic survival needs.
Now Look At Your Nation
Do you live under a strong government, providing law and order and keeping chaos mostly at bay?
Are you suffering the ravages of war, or do you live in a land unscathed and free from bombings, shots ringing out, and armed terror gangs?
A huge slice of humanity doesn’t enjoy these blessings. We Americans do.
Regular elections contested by long-standing political parties in a representative democracy?
A division of powers that keeps power from being concentrated in the hands of a dictator?
A bill of rights that guarantees the freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, of lawful assembly?
Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure?
The right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers? The right to face your accuser? Presumed innocent until proven guilty?
Violent crime rates are near 50 YEAR LOWS, our environment has now largely clean, and our lifespans are the highest they’ve ever been- despite what scare-mongering news outlets say.
We Americans are very blessed.
We have so many freedoms we take for granted.
But few people complain more or give thanks less than we do.
It’s so silly of us!
Then there’s our spiritual blessings.
God didn’t owe any sinner anything good. but everlasting judgment in Hell.
Yet, with the greatest compassion possible, He saw our plight, took pity on us, and personally intervened in human affairs,
He exhausted His wrath upon Himself instead of us at the Cross–freeing us from the sin-death regime we were all under and liberating our souls from the tyranny of sin.
All received as a free gift in simple trust–entrusting our selves to Him and trusting Him to apply all He did on our behalf to us.
Instead of hell, we are given heaven!
Instead of judgment, forgiveness!
Instead of shame, cleansing and honor!
Instead of rejection, adoption as His children!
Instead of death, eternally alive!
Instead of a cesspool of complaining, a fountain of everlasting joy!
If you’re a Christian, overflowing thanksgiving is our normal state of heart and mind.
Thanksgiving is what God wants most for us and from us.
It’s the devil that wants people to be miserable, complaining, ungrateful, bitter, etc.
Shall I go on?
Or have I said more than enough to convince you it’s well worth our time to take all the time we need to “count your blessings, name them one by one”?