It’s a little easier to be thankful this time of year. Everyone’s talking about it — or are they? This is the season for intentional thanksgiving! Yet, it seems that, at least for me, gratitude gets lost in the hustle and bustle of football, shopping and Thanksgiving dinner.
I know that the typical meal on Thanksgiving Day consists of everyone going around the table and saying something they are thankful for. I love that tradition because it keeps us aware, even if in a small way, of how blessed we truly are.
So join us around this literary table as we count our blessings, trying the best we can to remain thankful no matter what busy season we find ourselves in.
The following are some ideas to help you have an attitude of gratitude and a thankful spirit:
Keeping Christ in the forefront of our hearts is the beginning of true gratitude. If we have nothing else except Jesus, we’re still rich. Rich in faith, rich in the promise of Heaven, and rich in the hope that He will come back again soon to take us home.
One of God’s greatest blessings to us is our own circle of family — those that know and see us in the best and worst of times, those that God hand-picked to be in our close inner circle. It may not always be easy or perfect, but family is there in our lives for a reason. As some may know, my wife and two of my kids were in a horrific car accident a couple of months ago. I’m thankful I had family in my corner to be there when we didn’t know what the future held.
I have always had a big circle of friends. My job keeps me pretty social, which means knowing lots and lots of people. But there are a handful of people, they know who they are, that are always there. I know they would drop absolutely anything for me if I needed them and I’m so grateful for that. I never want to take my friendships for granted and I hope my friends all know how important they are to me.
God chose my career path; yet somehow I never felt forced into the ministry or made to feel like church was just another item on the to-do list. Sure, there have been hard times, times when I maybe didn’t feel like walking in those doors, times when I felt distant from the very God I was preaching about. But He was always there, waiting for me to draw nigh to Him.
The truth is, God shows himself to me through the preaching of His Word and the encouragement from the body of Christ, all of which I find by heading to church with my family week after week. The presence of God can be found anywhere through worship, yet somehow He seems a little closer when I commit to meeting with Him at church.
Some may think there isn’t much to be thankful for when it comes to being an American.
After all, haven’t we forgotten about God, sworn off guns, defunded the police, voted in incompetent leaders, taken God out of schools, disrespected our flag and our military — just to name a few? The truth is, the people that do these things have a loud voice, but they do not make up all of America. I still believe that America is the greatest nation in the world, and despite our flaws, we are still blessed. There are still millions of Americans that trust God and want to see America thrive again, and for that I am truly thankful.
Maybe there doesn’t seem like a lot you can be grateful for this year; but a few minutes of reflection on what God has done in your life will show you that He hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s just waiting for you to draw nigh so He can show you that He’s been there all along.
Dan Q. Carr is an assistant pastor and youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Gulfport, Mississippi, where he has been on staff for 14 years. He has a Master of Education degree and was also presented with an honorary doctorate degree. He currently serves as the president of the Harrison County Republican Club.