November is upon us, and it seems that whenever the 1st of November arrives, my mind turns to the upcoming holidays – I think that’s because I can’t believe it’s already November, and I know how quickly the next several weeks will fly by. It’s Thanksgiving! Then in the blink of an eye, it’s Christmas! Then New Years. And another year is in the books.
And as we head down the home stretch to another new year, things get heated up, busy, even crazy-busy! We have so much to do to get ready for the holidays and family gatherings and parties, etc. And I find that if I am not intentional about it, the year is over, I’ve hit the ground running on a new year, and I never took time to look back and give thanks for all the blessings, good people and good things God gave me in the old year.
So before I close the book on another year, and because November is the month when we celebrate one of my favorite holidays (I sure love turkey with stuffing and sweet potatoes!), Thanksgiving, I always try to start November by looking back over the year, and name all the things that happened in the year that I am thankful for. And when I think back, I always find I have a lot to be thankful for. I’ll bet you do too.
I won’t bore you with my list for this year, other than to tell you that right near the top, is my church family. I am deeply thankful for the ministry we do together, for the support you offer to me and each other, but even more, I am really thankful that each and every one of you are in my life. So, thank you! (Read that like I am saying it to you alone, because I am!)
And the reason I’m writing this is because I want to encourage you, if you don’t already have this habit, to stop and think about the last year. Think about all the things that occurred that brought joy, blessings, comfort, love, and hope into your life. On occasion, even bad times and struggles can bring us blessings – like the caring support and help of family, neighbors, friends, even strangers. Someone recently told me a story about having car troubles in the middle of nowhere, and as they put on their flashers, a policeman stopped and asked if they needed help. Now that’s a blessing, and a real reason to be thankful!
Once you have your list, take some time to express your thankfulness. Give thanks to God. Praise another person for who they are, what they’ve done, how they’ve helped and blessed you. William Ward once said, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
To help you get into the mood of being thankful, to inspire you and help jog your memory about the reasons you have to be thankful, I want to leave you with several quotes about thankfulness that have always inspired me to be more thankful for all the people and experiences God brings into my life!
Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. --Eckhart Tolle
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. -- Melody Beattie
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.- Meister Eckhart
We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction. -- H.A. Ironside
Let us be grateful to people who bring us joy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.-- Marcel Proust
When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. - Albert Schweitzer
God has given us a world with enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes, enough lush forests, flowered fields, and sandy beaches, enough stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people who appreciate and enjoy all that God has given us. -- Michael Josephson
Happy Thanks-giving to you!
Blessings and thanks,
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy! How great are your works, O Lord!
– Psalm 92:1-5
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – The Apostle Paul, I Thessalonians 5:16-18