Thanksgiving in July

Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness.  Let the whole world know what he has done.  – I Chronicles 16:8 (NLT)

A good way to overcome worry is practicing the art of thanksgiving.  Without the turkey of course.  Since practicing the art of thanksgiving is not easy to do in certain situations, adding a turkey to every act of thanksgiving would make it impossible.

Thanksgiving helps us appreciate what we have.  I read a quote the other day that said something like this, contentment is not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have.  Whatever good thing we possess or experience, we can be thankful and build our contentment reservoir.

Thanksgiving helps us get through tough times.  Like I mentioned at first, being thankful is not always easy.  Being thankful in tough times – not necessarily for the tough times – helps balance perspective.  Perspective helps us stay sane.  We begin to enter crazy when we find nothing to be thankful for.  Even in the toughest of times, God still cares about us.  In fact, if we had a fly-on-the-wall approach to watching God’s reactions when we suffer, I think we’d have a different perspective on how much He really cares for us.  I believe that He feels what we feel and experiences our hurt.  The best thing about that is His ability to heal.

Thanksgiving prepares us for blessing.  Being thankful helps us realize that nothing lasts forever.  Even when good things come, they won’t stick around indefinitely.  Just like trouble, blessings come and they go.  Being thankful for the blessings is one thing.  Being thankful to the One who blesses is another.  God sticks around even when blessings fade.

Thanksgiving helps others to enjoy being around us.  Being around people who are bitter and negative is a chore.  They are always complaining about something and fail to appreciate the good effort of others.  Without a heart of thanksgiving, everyone becomes a suspect.  Everything has a hidden agenda.  Nothing works right.  Being thankful helps us give others the benefit of the doubt.  We give others permission to be human.

When we’re thankful, we appreciate the work of the Holy Spirit in us.  Being thankful helps us notice the little things.  In most cases, the Holy Spirit works in us through ways that might not be noticed by a hardened heart or cynical eye.  Being thankful helps us realize that God works in the details of our lives and we might miss it if we’re not watching for it.

In any case, you can practice being thankful no matter what your situation.  Even if the circumstances don’t work out the way you’d like them to, you can be confident that God can work them out for your good.  Knowing that God cares about the things we care about and has the power to make them right  – in good or in bad – is something to be thankful for.