As we approach the 2020 Thanksgiving Holiday, I'm reminded of two things: the historical origin of the holiday itself, and what thankful means to me personally.
Historically speaking, Thanksgiving as a holiday came about when Abraham Lincoln (a personal favorite) in 1863, created a proclamation encouraging all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”at the height of the Civil War.
You see, President Lincoln recognized that even in the very darkest of times for us, we should not only seek out opportunity for gratitude, but that we could become the very thing someone less fortunate could find their own gratitude in. 2020 has been a challenging year, to be sure...it will be one for the books, as they say. But, if I take the time to meditate on the blessings in this dark time, I have MUCH to be thankful for.
The scriptures call us to be thankful. In 1 Thessalonians 5.18, we are told to "be thankful in everything, in all circumstances." Wow...that can be a tough one, can't it? Oftentimes we can find ourselves overwhelmed with burdens, worrying about tomorrow, and just plain stressed out. But it is in these times that we have to take inventory. For me, my "thankful inventory" begins by asking "What blessing have I received from this hardship?" and "What new thing do I see God doing in my life and character that might otherwise not have been given me except for this trial?". These prompts help me so much to see not just moderate "silver linings", but deep truths about who and HOW God is transformimg me. This gives me both great comfort and thankfulness.