Tag Archives: Thanks

A Key to a Happy Thanksgiving

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This morning we were surrounded by spectacular beauty as we drove to church. In our area the fall colors are at their peak. Even though we were hurrying for choir practice, we would have needed to be totally blind to miss the “wonder” of God’s world. Jesus said, “Those who have eyes to see, let them see.” I saw and I gasped in awe. “Thank you God,” I breathed. Tom said, “We are truly blessed.”

As I soaked in the sunshine and the view, I thought about these trees resplendent in their autumn finery. Our extremely dry summer has left them crying out for water. Yet, still they are glowing on this Thanksgiving Day, bringing joy to all who can see. Scientist’s have warned us the colour will be dull, and won’t last as long as usual. They may be right. For today, I can only gasp in awe. 

The amazing courage of these trees brought memories of my friend Frances who was 102 when she died last year. Like these trees Frances had times of drought, grief, difficulty in her life. Both her sons died very young, one with cancer and one in a car accident. And these were only two of the tragedies she experienced. And like these trees Frances continued to glow with God’s Spirit. Nothing could destroy her strength and gratitude for life. Her inner beauty shone God’s love on all who met her. I was blessed to have Frances as my friend.  

Today, I too am grateful, not because my life is perfect, but because God has given me a heart that sees and accepts the blessings that surround me. Nature is the trigger this morning, as I begin a day filled with love. I am extravagantly blessed with family, friends, and a church home.

Regardless of the troubles that plague you, seek out beauty on this Thanksgiving Day. Take the time and have the courage to open your eyes to God’s blessings. Look out your window, and search carefully for one moment or thing of beauty. Take a walk if you can, check out a nature book and soak in God’s wondrous world. Open your heart to the wonder of God’s love through people, animals, art. Let God’s surprises ignite the fire of gratitude and love within you.

It is my hope that together we can glow so brightly we will light up at least our own corner of God’s world.

How Do I Give Thanks Today?

For more than twenty years, I’ve had to write something for Thanksgiving. Often, I’ve used the Biblical story of the “Ten Lepers” for inspiration. If Jesus wondered why only one leper was grateful for his healing, what must God think of us when we take our blessings for granted? This year, I’m beginning with Tom’s words, “Every time I turn around, there’s another pleasant surprise from God.”

As we left for Tucson last month, our minds were riddled with worry and sadness. Our grandson had been injured playing rugby and needed surgery and the day before we left my nephew was killed in a car accident. Staying home was out of the question. I was conducting my mother’s memorial service in Tucson. We packed our bags and drove first to my sister’s home six hours away and then back to Buffalo Airport. The next morning, Tom opened the drapes in our hotel room and said, “Every time, I turn around there’s another pleasant surprise from God.”

What was he talking about? He pointed to the idyllic country scene just outside the hotel window and began ticking off the list of blessings we had received over the past twenty-four hours. He started with the previous night. When we crossed the bridge at Niagara Falls, we needed gas immediately. He asked a taxi driver for directions to the nearest gas station. That stranger not only led us to the nearest open gas station, but also all the way to the Buffalo airport. He even paid our toll as we crossed a toll bridge. As he disappeared into the night, we gave thanks to God for his kindness. Tom finished his list with the unexpected Jacuzzi tub in our hotel room.

Yes, God had given us little blessings here and there, as we set out on this journey, our hearts full of sadness and worry. I needed to give God thanks. I offer you this tip. God offers small blessings, surprises, even on the worst days. We can follow St. Paul’s instructions, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)