I see you over there. Yes, you! You’re struggling to muster even a semblance of gratitude this Thanksgiving.
Hey, it happens. Get off your own case. Sometimes we don’t feel thankful on schedule. Even if we’re practiced in cultivating an attitude of gratitude, there are circumstances that test our resolve. If you’re having one of those seasons this Thanksgiving, here are some ways to be grateful still:
If there’s an empty chair at your table this holiday because a loved one has died, thank God that Jesus knew grief and sorrow in His time on earth. Your God understands your sadness.
If your child is in rebellion or lost in sin or addiction this Thanksgiving, thank God that He is a shepherd who leaves the 99 to seek and save the one wandering sheep. Your God knows your heart.
If you’re reeling from a betrayal from one you thought of as a lover or a friend, thank God that Jesus was betrayed by one He loved. Jesus had a Judas, too.
If you’re homeless, thank God that Jesus had no home, no place to call His, nowhere to lay His head. Jesus shares your heartache.
If you’re broke, dependent on others for the basics of life, thank God that Jesus was born into a family who had to offer a poor man’s sacrifice for their new child, a family dependent on the gifts of strangers. Jesus left the riches of heaven for the rags of this world.
If you’re far from home, a stranger in a strange land, thank God He sent His only Son to this far outpost. Jesus knew what it was like to miss home.
If you’re surrounded by conflict, unhappiness, loved ones who should appreciate each other but are fighting instead, thank God that Jesus knew the disciples argued among themselves about who was the greatest. Jesus gets you. He feels your pain.
If you’re feeling unnoticed, unappreciated, underutilized, or unseen, thank God that Jesus came to those who were His own, to His very creation, and they didn’t know Him or receive Him. Jesus has sat where you sit now.
If you’re facing terrible, hard choices and know what is the right thing to do but are not sure you have the courage to do it, thank God when you remember Jesus in Gethsemane, sweating likes great drops of blood, over the choice of following through with His Father’s will for Him. Your God has walked in your painful shoes.
If you’re fine but you’re hurting for others, for those you love who are suffering and wish you could take their pain onto your own shoulders, thank God that Jesus loved the world enough to take all our sin on His shoulders and lay down His life. Jesus’ heart has been broken just like yours.
If you’re saddened by a world that suffers from ingratitude and spends the holiday focused on consuming food and material goods while others starve for food and love, be grateful that Jesus had His eye on the widow and her mite as He fashioned a whip to stir things up in the temple. Jesus sees what you see, loved one.
Gratitude is like gold. All we need is the smallest nugget to be rich in spirit. Gratitude is like a candle in a cold, dark cave. One tiny spark breaks the power of darkness. Gratitude is like plutonium radiating an entire soul with only a granule or flake.
If you can only muster a single grain of gratitude this year, know that is a victory against the enemy. With that single grain, you have held your ground, loved one. There is a cornucopia of hope in that microscopic zygote of thanksgiving. That granule of gratitude can elevate your entire soul.
I am grateful for you and for the God who binds us together as one. Receive His blessing for you, loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving.