This week is the Thanksgiving holiday, celebrated primarily in North America but also observed in different forms in other countries around the world. Traditionally, it’s a day when families and friends gather to give thanks for the blessings in their lives; the holiday’s origins are traced back to harvest festivals and days of thanksgiving celebrate in England in the 1500s and 1600s.
For spiritual thinkers, Thanksgiving is a time to pause and give gratitude for the abundance God bestows on each one of us. For many, it’s not too hard to recognize spiritual blessings every day! And for those who may feel like they don’t have much to be grateful for, Thanksgiving can be a nudge to turn hearts and minds to God, who is always right at hand to guide, guard, and bring healing to even the most trying circumstances. And that includes health conditions, relationship issues, financial woes, or any other difficult situation. Each one of us can turn to God's love and goodness!
“Thanks living and praise giving” discusses how the act of praising God can become a theme for our lives, not limited to just one day a year. As we “gain the altitude of praise … as we truly love, motivated by no concern for oneself in helping to lift the burdens of others,” we’ll find that Thanksgiving blessings bubble over and bless all areas of our lives! Giving thanks enables us to acknowledge and rejoice in everything that God has done and is doing in our lives.
For a stirring example of the “ripple effect” of giving thanks to God, take a look at “The Thanksgiving that changed my life.” The author discusses how the gratitude she felt at a Thanksgiving service enabled her to break through a year of fear, grief, and anxiety attacks following the death of a family member. She writes, “The binding grip around my chest melted away. I took a long, deep breath, the first in what felt like a very long time, and I actually smiled. I knew that I could find healing and joy … That one Thanksgiving service sparked a course of action and a devotion to God that blesses my life today.”
Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone! As the poem “Thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” from a 1944 issue of the Sentinel says:
Let doubt be stilled, fear be destroyed,
Trust take its rightful place;
The love outpoured be amplified,
That all may serve Thy grace.