Sunday, November 19, 2006

The discipline of Thanksgiving

Many families will get together this week and celebrate a great American holiday - Thanksgiving. Some will have a fine spread like the one pictured here. Turkey, pie, pumkiny things, and so forth. Thanksgiving is meant to be a time to appreciate God's generous blessings in our lives.

For some people, however, Thanksgiving is a tolerated interruption that requires acting nice, being polite, and being proper in front of people they don't like. For others it means either splitting time or swapping holidays - one with mom and ther other with dad. For some kids it can be so stressful that they can't wait to get back to school.

I encourage you to be thinking now, before the actual day of Thanksgiving, to list that for which you are thankful. Think people and possessions. Think freedom and opportunity. You have much to be thankful for no matter how you feel.

Which leads me to my next point. Some people don't feel any sense of gratitude because the stress of life has weighed on them, they have had some bad experiences, or they believe the bad has outweighed the good. Gratitude is not a feeling, it is a discipline. Giving thanks is not some little extra thing people can do if they feel like it. It is something that should be practiced, like drawing, bowling, or dance. It is something that you need to get good at. Few have a natural gift for being good at gratitude.

The practice of thanksgiving is what will make for a good Thanksgiving. Go ahead, give it a try and see if you are good at it. If you are, don't withhold your ability from people. And if you are lousy at it, then try to develop that skill of Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

Sean Carter said...

Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness and of course being thankful for all the wonderful gifts of life...we are all thankful for all our little achievements and blessing that have been bestowed upon us by the Almighty....and on this wonderful occasion do visit my Thanksgiving Blog sometime and share all the spirit and joy of Thanksgiving!!!!