Tomorrow, we celebrate Thanksgiving. America is one of the few countries in the world to have a day of Thanksgiving. We remember the day of thanks that our ancestors celebrated in 1621. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of thanks in 1863 for all of the states to observe, which became a holiday during the 1870s. In 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the day of Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November.
No matter how you spend Thanksgiving, it is a day to thank God for what we have in life. He calls us to be thankful. Psalm 107:1 states, “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast loves endures forever!” I know some families that spend time sharing with each other what they are thankful for before eating dinner. So, I ask you, what are you thankful for this year? If you had to make a list of ten things that you are thankful for, what would the list contain? It is so easy to be thankful for the good things in life – your family, friends, home, job, and so much more. But, are we thankful for the tough situations, the hurt, the pain and the difficult times in life?
In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he tells them to “be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (5:16-18). Paul doesn’t say to be thankful only when you are happy or life is going like you wanted it to or thought it should go. He said to give thanks in all circumstances. God has a plan even when things seem to be falling apart or you just don’t understand what is going on. In his letter, James tells us to “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (1:3-4). While it is so hard to do, God wants us to be thankful for our trials and tough situations because He knows that we will come out of it even better and stronger than we were. We need to be confident that God is working and will carry us through it to completion (Phil. 1:6). God has each one of us in His hands. This Thanksgiving, be joyful and pray to our Father, thanking for Him for everything in your life - no matter how easy or hard it is. He's got you!