Doug Creamer: Giving Thanks
By now you have probably had your fill of turkey and headed out to begin your Christmas shopping. But it’s not too late to be thankful. Having a thankful heart is something we should all be working to cultivate. Actually, being thankful on a regular basis can change our outlook on life. It can help us appreciate things, people, and situations much more.
I have been lucky to work with children at church most of my adult life. I taught the children on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I asked them, “What are five things for which you are thankful?” At first, they struggled, until I prompted them. I told them they looked healthy and had normal functioning bodies. Then I pointed out that they had nice clothes and had probably slept on a comfortable bed the night before. Once I primed the pump, they shared some good ideas.
Why do we have such a hard time having an attitude of gratitude? We are all so lucky that maybe we overlook our many blessings. I know we all have some difficult situations and problems. Some of your situations may even be overwhelming, but if you could step back for just a moment, there are still some things that could lift your spirit if you looked at them with a heart of gratitude.
To begin with, most of us have a place we can call home. It’s not a car, tent, or the homeless shelter. God has blessed us with a nice place to live. Most of us have a vehicle, OK, it’s not the newest and shiniest one, but it does get us around. Most of us have some nice clothes. Most of us will probably get some new clothes for Christmas, even though we aren’t hurting.
When it comes to food, we are all blessed in that department. Most of us have probably just enjoyed a huge Thanksgiving feast. We normally go to my in-laws’ house, where there will be enough food to feed an army. My mouth is watering just thinking about all the food, and especially the desserts, that will be around.
When I was growing up, my mother used to serve a huge Thanksgiving dinner. Family and friends came from miles away to enjoy a fabulous feast. My parents always told anyone who was alone on Thanksgiving to come to our house; there was always room for one more at our table. My brother has picked up this family tradition. The memories of Thanksgiving loom large in my mind.
Many of us can thank God for good, healthy bodies. Others are dealing with the fact that bodies develop aches and pains, and were not designed to last forever. Even if you are dealing with a body that is not as young as it used to be, there are still parts of you that are working fine. Look at yourself one more time; God has blessed you and will continue to help you and be with you.
I can’t stop thinking about how grateful I am for the people in my life. I can’t imagine the holidays without my wife; I am so thankful for her in my life. I am looking forward to retirement when we can spend even more time together. I am also thankful for my family and extended family. I have lots of nieces and nephews, and I am also a great-uncle. On top of that, I am blessed to have a good church family. My pastor and his family always make us feel welcome when we are around them. I am also blessed with some great friends and good neighbors. I really am thankful for all the people who make my life rich and full.
Being thankful is a mindset. It shouldn’t be something we do only once a year. If we stop and consider life and how truly blessed we are in so many ways, it’s hard not to have a thankful heart. I know you might be facing difficult and trying times right now, but even in sad and tragic moments, we can be thankful that we have a God who will never leave us or forsake us. We can know and be assured that we will not walk through those times alone.
I want to encourage you to create a lifestyle of giving thanks. If we can stop every day and think of five to ten things we are thankful for, we will change our attitude and perspective on life. God is good and He has been good to each one of us. Let’s continue to be thankful to Him whether it is Thanksgiving or not.
Contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org