Thursday, of course, is Thanksgiving Day. Historians trace the holiday to 1621 at Plymouth Plantation, where the Pilgrims initially observed “a day of thanksgiving.” But it was President Abraham Lincoln, in 1863, who proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day should be observed annually on the final Thursday of November.
So, many of us will gather this week with family and friends for bountiful meals and a time to reflect on things for which we are thankful. This is a wonderful tradition, but there’s no reason to wait until the end of November to express our thankfulness. It’s something we can be doing on a daily basis.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the apostle Paul exhorts his readers, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This comes immediately after he writes, “Be joyful always, pray continually.” So the act of thanksgiving should not restricted to a special time or occasion, but rather practiced 24:7 – and regardless of our circumstances.
It’s easy to feel thankful when things in our lives go well, but what about when things don’t go well?
Years ago I helped a friend of mine, Albert Diepeveen, put together a booklet about his life entitled, “Saying ‘Thank You’ Even When You Don’t Feel Thankful.” In it Albert recounts the numerous hardships he has encountered throughout his life, including bouts with tuberculosis and cancer, along with business challenges. Yet he has remained unswervingly positive and hopeful – because of his unshakable trust in God’s love and mercy.
“Remember that God is in control of all things,” he writes. “When you accept Christ, your life is going to be really changed. One of those changes is you realize everything is going to be all right, no matter what.”
And that’s reason to be thankful – every day!