You’ve heard lots of Thanksgiving sermons. You know you are supposed to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving in your heart”. You've heard all the TED talks, you know you’re supposed to have an “Attitude of Gratitude”.
You know you should be thankful... but you're not. At least you don’t “feel” thankful.
When I woke up this morning I wasn’t feeling thankful... to be fair, I wasn’t feeling un-thankful either. It’s just that the last last year and half has left me, and probably you, with a bad case of the blahs. Life feels a little below average, two weeks is quickly becoming two years, life is quite different today than it was a couple of years ago.
Nevertheless, despite the changes in circumstance and society, we are resilient, we are people of faith, so we press on, we are prisoners of hope. In the best sense of that phrase.
So this morning as I showered I thought about thanksgiving. It occurred to me that thanks in the Bible is often paired with a verb - a doing word. We GIVE thanks. We OFFER thanksgiving. We BRING a SACIFICE of thanksgiving. We are encouraged to BE thankful.
It occurred to me that FEELING thankful follows BEING thankful. FEELING thankful is a product of GIVING thanks. GIVING thanks produces a FEELING of thankfulness.
Saying thankyou is just good manners, but being thankful is an attitude.
I had the blahs because I thought to myself “I have nothing in particular to be thankful about”.
I didn’t FEEL particularly thankful, so I decided to BE thankful. I started bringing to mind people who I was thankful for, and a funny thing happened. I thought about my dad.
My dad has been dead for nearly 30 years so there are no recent memories or events that would evoke thankfulness, but I began to be thankful for my dad. I started to express thankfulness ... and I began to smile. Not for any particular memory or event.
I. Just. Felt. Thankful.
I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular, I was just thankful, and my mind began to recall fond and happy memories of my dad.
Are you having a little trouble FEELING thankful lately. Perhaps you’re like me, you're not un-thankful, you're just feeling a little blah. Can I encourage you to choose thankfulness today. Start being thankful, be intentional. Our memories are full of reasons to be thankful, but sadly those memories get buried by the stuff of life, but choosing to BE thankful causes our heart and mind to access those memories.
As Preston reminded us on Sunday, Thanksgiving is followed by Praise because BEING thankful will bring to mind all the reasons we have to be thankful... and we will be glad!
Wishing you a truly Happy Thanksgiving!