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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Ready or Not, Thanksgiving Is Here

Thanksgiving's upon us and there's loads of preparing to do. We have to plan everything for the kind of meal that leaves us in a pitiful food coma on the sofa for the rest of the day. We shop for the countless groceries, lug home that prized turkey and thaw it out for days. We endlessly prepare our homes for our influx of house guests. Then there's all the cooking after making several calls to the 1-800-Butterball Turkey hotline.

After all the preparation, we are left with a massive clean up effort in a kitchen that now resembles a high school cafeteria after a food fight. Then finally It's time for Thanksgiving dinner, where everyone delightfully wolfs down days of cooking in just 10 minutes; only to be followed by TV channel surfing - affording us the opportunity to watch at least three football games at once! Yes, Thanksgiving, the one time of year when pigging out and watching football seem to be our patriotic duty!

I am of course joking, at least a little.

In spite of all my playful holiday sarcasm, Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday! I love everything about it. For starters, I love to cook. It makes me happy to cook all of the old family favorites that everyone looks so forward to. I enjoy having a noisy, messy, fun-filled house again because my boys are home on break. Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season with Christmas right around the corner. It's a wonderfully magical time of year. I love all these things about this day; but what I love most is that we can all be together for no other reason than to just give God a glorious shout out of thanks and praise for ALL He does for us!

Turkeys and football aside, we should always remember we are gathering to give our heartfelt thanks for life's bountiful blessings; for it is in these moments our lives become so enriched.

Mindful of the very meaning of Thanksgiving, we can thank our Heavenly Father, who is the amazing benefactor and provider of all we have. We might take a few moments and do nothing other than simply count our blessings, numbering each and every one; simultaneously praising the Lord for His love, protection, and kindness in our lives and in those whose lives we deeply cherish. Seeing those faces I love so much surrounding my holiday table fills my soul with divine peace.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 107:1 (NIV)

We need not wait for a chilly Thursday in November to express our gratitude. On the contrary, we should begin each and every glorious morning with a prayer of thanksgiving!

I know this sounds a bit cliché, but let's literally stop and smell the proverbial roses. Look around us as if we are seeing our surroundings for the first time. Put on our rose-colored glasses and see God's majesty everywhere! We will be so moved by what God has done for us. Open our eyes to each new day and be thankful for absolutely everything! Being grateful turns all we have into all we need.

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

Let's pause, reflect a bit, and bask in His love! Let's enjoy every moment of our wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and every day to the fullest with our hearts overflowing in immense gratitude. Let's measure our thanksgiving not by our blessings themselves, but how well we use them.

Enjoy this Thanksgiving feasting on turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberries; thanking God abundantly first, and by all means ... save room for pumpkin pie!

Copyright © 2014 by Nina Keegan. Used by permission.

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