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Doug Creamer: Focus on giving thanks

Can you smell the turkey or ham? Is your mouth watering at the mere thought of the feast that we shall all consume today? We are finally at the holiday to celebrate food, family, and especially, giving thanks. I know that I am ready for a few days break from the routines in life. I am also ready to enjoy some really good food surrounded by family and friends.
This year I will have the distinct pleasure of celebrating Thanksgiving twice. We went home a couple of weeks ago to visit my in-laws where the food was delicious. On Thanksgiving Day, I hope to share a meal with my family. We will be gathering at my brother’s house where you are never quite sure how many people will show up. I always imagine that a stranger could easily slip in, but they would feel warmly welcomed.
I wonder how many people will be lining up at the stroke of midnight as many merchants are anxious to begin the holiday shopping season. I can say with almost certainty that I will not be one of them. I have to say that I feel badly for the employees who have to be there to spend the night. I thought opening at six in the morning was too early. If the bargains are good enough, customers will show up.
Before we get overly focused on the Christmas shopping season, let’s not forget the very important day upon which we should all stop and give thanks. It seems the Christmas commercials have started running at full speed before we can take the time to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.
I realize that for some people it might be difficult to celebrate a time of giving thanks when you consider their situations. Some people have been out of work for a long time and that can be very discouraging. Others are in jobs that are beneath their skills and abilities, not to mention their old pay rate. Many people are facing a health crisis and need answers to their prayers. Still others are facing the holidays alone, which given the focus on family can make this time of the year very difficult.
I believe that Thanksgiving is really a matter of the heart. I have seen and known people who were in very bad situations who found things in their lives for which they were thankful. It was their perspective that changed everything. They chose to look for the good even during dark and difficult times. When the circumstances of life seem overwhelming it can be difficult but still possible to find the good.
So what is your perspective? Can you think of some things for which you are truly thankful? If you are having trouble, just start with one. Start with your family or some very special friends. There is always someone who cares about you; thank God for them. Consider the parts of your body that are working well; thank God for them. Do you have a warm dry place to spend the night? Thank God. Are you going to enjoy a delicious meal on Thanksgiving? Give thanks for that gift.
Once you begin the process of thanking God, it begins to just flow out of you. There are so many ways, even in difficult times and circumstances, that God has blessed us that we should call our minds to the task of giving thanks. God inhabits the thanks and praises of His people. When we have a thankful heart; God draws close to us. There is nothing in the world like having the God of the whole universe draw close to you. No matter what your circumstances, God can and will see you through. God makes all the difference. If you don’t know Him, now is the perfect time to begin a relationship with Him.
I want to encourage you to open your heart to thanksgiving, not just the holiday, but the heart-attitude of giving thanks for your many blessings. God loves you, another thing to be thankful for in your life. God has richly blessed us and we should take time to thank Him. If you find yourself going through difficult times, allow me to throw you a life preserver of hope. God is good and I thank Him for the opportunity to write this for you. May you discover hope, joy, peace, and a slice of happiness as you give thanks.
Doug Creamer teaches marketing at East Davidson High School. His website is www.dougcreamer.com. Contact him at P.O. Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or email doug@dougcreamer.com

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