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  • Writer's pictureJill Jarrell Newsome

Thankful, grateful, blessed

Growing up I learned that Thanksgiving was a time of feasting for the Pilgrims and Indians. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims had been in America less than a year. During those months, over half their people had died from disease or starvation. The Pilgrims hosted the first feast to celebrate life with their Indian friends and give thanks to God for His provision in difficult circumstances.

Growing up I never remember a meal that my father did not leave the table before thanking my mom for dinner. We were taught to do the same. As I have heard, it did not magically appear on the table. We also never ate a meal, breakfast, lunch or supper, at home or at a restaurant that we did not thank God for the food He provided us.

I have a sign in my kitchen, over the pantry, that says, “For All Our Blessings We Give Thanks.” On my stove I have a small sign that says, “thankful, grateful, blessed.” In my laundry room I have a sign that says, “There is always, always, always something to be grateful for.” I bought that one day when I was in the middle of tough times. I love having those reminders in my house. We can never be too grateful! Psalm 118: 1, “Oh, thank the Lord, for he’s so good! His loving-kindness is forever.”

Thanksgiving is like a kick off to Christmas for me. To some of you this may be obnoxious but it is how I roll. I have all of my presents bought and wrapped waiting for the tree. The Christmas tree will go up a few days before Thanksgiving. I just want to waller (southern for lay around lazily) in gratefulness. I do not want the stress of a hectic season! Thanksgiving to Christmas and when I am on the beach/island is where I love to waller in gratefulness. Maybe because, for me, it is so easy to be grateful in those places and in that time! Creation, Jesus’ birth and thinking of all that we have to be thankful for. But we are to give thanks, even in the hard times, because that is when we grow in our faith. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Gratefulness should become a way of life. If you stop and really think about the first five minutes of your day, what you are grateful for, you will begin to see how grateful you are. You did wake up, you have a bed, you have a house, you are not in the elements, you have a job, you don't need a job, you are not in ill health, you have a family, you have water to bathe, you will have breakfast, your pets get to eat, you have freedom, you have a phone if someone had an emergency you would have heard, you can get news immediately (not always grateful for that), you can open your curtains or blinds and see the outside world and not be afraid, you have a relationship with Jesus, your children have a relationship with Jesus, you were raised in the church, you have friends, you are a child of the King and the list goes on. 1 Chronicles 16: 8, “‘Oh, give thanks to the Lord and pray to him,’ they sang. ‘Tell the people of the world about his mighty doings.’”

Millions never pause to give a word of thanks to God for the food provided. Even at Thanksgiving, only a minority will pause and give thanks to God. God is so good, and His people truly should have a thankful heart, praising Him for who He is and what He has done.

Thanksgiving is not just a holiday with turkey. Thanksgiving is a heart of gratitude! Thanksgiving is recognition of a debt that cannot be paid. We express thanks even though we will never be able to reimburse the giver. Billy Graham said the true meaning of Thanksgiving is the recognition of dependence on God.

In the book of Numbers, the Israelites’ were in the wilderness and constantly grumbling against God. Even though they had seen His miracles and grace. He sent manna from heaven and provided water from a rock. God miraculously delivered them from slavery in Egypt. But their hearts were turning back and they were not trusting God. They were taking everything for granted. They needed to stop and think of all the blessings that had been poured on them! They needed a day of thanksgiving! That would have changed their faith and focus.

This thanksgiving when we get up from the table and go back to our normal routine of grumbling about how full we are, how we blew our diet, our team lost, how messy the kitchen is, now we have to get ready for Christmas, a relative got on our nerves, and my favorite: it took hours to prepare and was devoured in 20 minutes let’s stop ourselves! Let’s remain in the attitude of thankfulness. Colossians 3: 17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Let’s make every day a day of thanksgiving. God is good every day! What do you want to praise God for today?

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