It’s November and the stores are ready for Christmas! But wait, we haven’t had Thanksgiving yet! Ha! I guess we’ve all gotten used to this by now; Thanksgiving being overshadowed by Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas; it’s my favorite time of year as I’m sure it’s probably most everyone’s. Thanksgiving is to thankfulness as Christmas is to giving and receiving. So, we should be a very thankful people; we have been blessed and have received so much.
But here’s a fact of life: it’s human nature to take things for granted; especially when we’re young. Although I don’t think it has as much to do with our chronological maturity as it does with our spiritual maturity.
For me, my earliest recollection of being thankful was when I was 26. The setting: St Francis Hospital in Beech Grove, Indiana. The date: November 26, 1981. The occasion: two days after the birth of our first daughter. There I was, resting in my hospital bed, and the hospital worker rolled in a large meal cart and gave me my turkey dinner on a hospital serving tray. Michelle, 2 days old, lay asleep in the hospital bassinet right next to my bed. It was just the two of us and I was so happy and thankful to God for allowing me to be a mom to this precious child. I was overwhelmed with the thought that He had blessed me with a baby and was entrusting me to be her mom! I was in love with my newborn and just so very very thankful. I remember praying with tears in my eyes and thanking God with every tear. Here was my first Thanksgiving spent basically alone (Harold was at my mom’s having Thanksgiving dinner) and away from my family but it was really the first Thanksgiving that I recall being aware of God’s blessings and being thankful to Him. Now since that day, I’ve had many many more occasions of overwhelming thankfulness to God, such as the birth my other two daughters, Megan and Mackenzie. I’ve since found a correlation in my increased thankfulness with my increased relationship with God.
It was while I was pregnant with Michelle that I rekindled my relationship with God. I had watched Billy Graham on TV one evening and a few nights later woke up in the middle of the night thinking about all the sin in my life. I asked for His forgiveness, started reading my bible again and going back to church. I had first come to faith in Him when I was 12 but had drifted away during my teens and early 20’s. Interesting enough, I don’t recall being thankful during those years. I may have been, but I just don’t recall it, so I have concluded that having a relationship with a God and being thankful do go hand-in-hand.
So again, Christmas time is my favorite time of year. Gifts are fun to receive and fun to give! Emphasis more on the later as we get older! But here’s a truth and a gentle warning: there’s a danger that surrounds the many gifts we receive throughout our lives. The danger lies within our own hearts, that we may desire the gifts instead of or more than the Giver. While it’s true that all gifts are from God, never loose sight of the fact that the Giver is much greater than the gifts He gives us.
Be ever thankful.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”