November—A month of change, thankfulness, and holidays…
Lots of things have happened in the last few weeks. We’ve elected a new president, celebrated a holiday, survived those door bustin’ sales on Black Friday, and an iconic despot has died. We still have four days left in this month. I wonder if there will be any more surprises.
Someone told me they read an article that said that Black Friday shopping is not as popular as it used to be. (Well, you know how reliable third party hearsay is.) Black Friday shopping is a tradition that I have never been very enthusiastic about. I am a night person. My husband is a morning person (God’s little joke on us). Therefore, while he and the girls are out getting those fantastic bargains at the expense of sleep, I am home in my warm snuggly bed dreaming that my house has been cleaned by little fairies.
I can safely say that my entire family, and probably yours as well, has gone through the traditional food stuffing coma, cleaned up, reheated, and repeated the process. We also enjoyed a game or two of Scene-It. Though we don’t know most of the movies, we still have fun, and it is worth it to spend time together as a family. This can be a challenge at times because our girls work in retail.
Thankfulness is becoming a rare commodity—at least it seems that way in today’s society. You might say, “Well, Robin, you’re a day late and a dollar short. We’ve already put up our Christmas tree and moved on. Thanksgiving was just another day to stay home and eat.”
As tradition has it, my family used to put up our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But let’s not be in such a hurry that we don’t take time to dwell on the blessings in our lives.
Did you know that thankfulness is not merely a choice? It is a command. Leviticus 22:29 speaks of a thank offering that Jews were commanded to bring to the Lord.
“And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it of your own free will” (NKJV).
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul tells the Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (ESV).
Here is some of my “Thankful” list. I’m thankful for a God who loves me, forgives me, and never leaves me; who has given me a small talent and a great joy for writing; and who has provided for my family’s needs every day of our lives. I’m also thankful for my husband, who loves me unconditionally; my daughters, who forgive me over and over again when I screw up; and my father. This man demonstrated gentle kindness to my mother (who is in heaven), to me, and to my brothers. For a man who came from a very broken home, he has exhibited greater love and wisdom than he ever experienced during his formative years.
I have wonderful brothers, who care about me and my family. (Don’t tell them I said they’re wonderful. I have a reputation to uphold.) We have a church family who cares about their pastor. We have been blessed beyond measure. And throughout this past year, we have reflected from time to time on how God has placed his hand on us through all our circumstances.
What are you thankful for?
Have you been having the same thoughts running through your mind? Have you been thinking about those who’ve had an influence on your life—who have guided, mentored, listened, and helped you throughout the years? Or have you been going it alone? I know that there are millions of people who feel they are masters of their own fate, or feel they have no control over anything at all.
It is true that we may not have control of our circumstances, but we do have control over how we react to those circumstances. It isn’t easy to choose to be positive when bad things happen, but God does command us to rejoice always and pray without ceasing. Perhaps obeying these commands will help us to give thanks in all circumstances—knowing that God is in control.
Times have changed…
….in the Warren household. (Change happens when you have children who work in retail and a husband who is a Wolverines fan.) So instead of putting the tree up on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we plan to wait until the following weekend. I miss that tradition, but I must say that I’m truly thankful that I have a family who like to spend time together. I hope you are similarly blessed.
So have a wonderful holiday, eating turkey, cranberries, assorted casseroles, rolls, and pies. Take your nap, watch the football game, and in the meantime, God bless and keep you all.