November 22, 2009

Thanks Living

If you've been out shopping recently it’s pretty obvious that “Christmas is in the air.” Local stores, shopping malls and restaurants appear aglow with everything from candy canes to mistletoe.

Many retailers began playing Christmas music long before the costumes and masks of the trick-or-treaters had been put away. It is not “beginning to look like Christmas” but rather as if it is well under way.

There have been grumblings about this issue within the ranks of those who participate in social networking. “Isn't there a holiday between Halloween and Christmas” many people are asking?
Some are acting upon their concern that Thanksgiving has been lost in the holiday shuffle by joining sites such as GratitudeLog or by posting daily status updates expressing thankfulness via Facebook or Twitter in an attempt to counteract the perceived sweeping away of what many consider a holiday of “reflective gratitude.” They've spent a few moments every day in the month of November making their blessings publicly known. Many of these posts are quite moving to read.
Thanksgiving, which historically dates back to 1621, was a celebration between the colonists of Plymouth and the Wampanoag Indians. Together they shared from the bounty of their crops in celebration of their rich harvest.

Over the years it seems that this holiday has evolved into the three “Ts”: travel, television and turkey. These things along with families and friends now seem to make Thanksgiving meaningful. Yet upon careful consideration a day, or even a month, to reflect upon what we are thankful for hardly seems enough.

Suppose instead of Thanksgiving we adopted "thanks living" by taking time each day to stop and count our blessings? After all, each day that we “wake up on the right side of the dirt”, as someone near and dear once said, is truly a gift.

"Thanks living" is a biblical concept that was exhibited in the life of King David who said “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1 English Standard Version) He realized that all of God’s deeds, great and small, are worthy of our gratitude.

The word “worship” is derived from the word “worth” and used to express the worthiness of God. We worship in various ways: song, dance, reading the Bible and prayer. An important element of prayer is giving thanks.

When we take the time to count our blessings and offer thanks to the One responsible for them we are in essence worshipping. It is not so much about our physical position as it is the condition of our hearts.

A grateful heart pauses to express their affection to the giver. When we take the time to worship God we humbly express our gratefulness for His guidance, protection and provision in our lives. He’s been faithful to us on a daily basis--not just one day a year.

Concerns about the holiday of Thanksgiving being eclipsed quickly vanish when we commit to "thanks living" instead. We begin by acknowledging the sun when it comes up in the morning and the stars as they twinkle at night; by hearing the laughter of a child and feeling gratitude, experiencing the hug of a loved one and feeling blessed. "Thanks living" sees a roof overhead, food on the table, a warm bed to sleep in and feels fortunate.

Living a lifetime of thanks is not difficult to do in light of all we’ve been given.  If we were to make a list of blessings, using words that span the entire alphabet, we'd quickly see how much we have to be thankful for. If we chose just one blessing each day for which to express gratitude; we would probably spend the rest of our lives giving thanks.

Sounds like a great way to live.

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