We take so many things for granted in life, and none more so than holidays. The special days come, and we often fail to appreciate fully the reason we observe them. The “celebrations” often become perfunctory opportunities for time off, disconnected from anything real and significant in our lives.
This year Thanksgiving was not like that for me; this year, Thanksgiving was real in an amazing way.
Don’t misunderstand me; I have always loved holidays as a reason for gathering with my very large and boisterous family. We are, and always have been, intentional about gathering to celebrate together for almost any reason. However, I confess, I have not always felt the deep gratitude at Thanksgiving that I feel this year. Even though the official day is over and done, the spirit of thankfulness still lingers.
I, like many people, have much for which to be thankful. However, in a year that has been marked by exciting new challenges, illness, and the transitions that come in every life, I have embraced the spirit of gratitude in a new way. Thankfulness has been a day-by-day, moment-by-moment feeling this year as God has brought courage and confidence, healing for illness, peace from financial stresses, the joy of stronger connections with family and friends, and a deepening assurance of how He is ever present in the lives of His children.
So rather than one scheduled day of celebration this year, Thanksgiving has been a fitting culmination to the gratitude I have felt daily. And I feel it more deeply as I share the time of celebration and reflection with others. It is a feeling I cannot and
would not shake off, and it is exponentially more real because I share it with so many, both those I know and those I have never met. It is the kind of gratitude that is not circumstantial, rather, it is deeply rooted in an awareness that each new day, whatever it brings, is a blessing, making every day a day of thanksgiving.
Wherever you are, in whatever circumstances, I pray that the spirit of Thanksgiving is real for you too. I pray that your gratitude spills over and adds to the love and peace so desperately needed in the world today. I pray that gratitude inspires all of us to bridge the gaps that so often seem to separate us and that God’s love shining in our lives can bring light into the places where we are.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!