EVEN A SMALL BLESSING
By Janice Price
Thanksgiving is a nostalgic time of the year for some of us. It brings up warm memories of extended family gathering together to enjoy the moment and the good food. Over the years, some family members moved away and some passed on. They are missing around the table, but not forgotten. This year, as Thanksgiving fast approaches, I again think of those times when Mother, Grandmother and Dad’s aunt took turns hosting the holiday gatherings.
Since last Thanksgiving, the news has covered one disaster after another: the tsunami in Asia, earthquakes, mud slides, tornadoes, floods and hurricanes. These instances are also on my mind today because I realize many families will be missing loved ones lost in these catastrophic occurrences. Thousands are displaced and starting over in strange areas. Homes have been destroyed, pets lost, family businesses destroyed, and treasured heirlooms, photographs, and family histories forever lost to the elements. Life, as they knew it, has ended, and they are working to adjust to life as it is now. Still, those who lost everything are grateful to be alive.
Thanksgiving will be bittersweet to numerous people this year. Many will be sharing the holiday meal with strangers or with new friends in a new neighborhood, while remembering family gatherings of previous years.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with problems and unable for this moment to count your blessings? Consider those who are living on the street - even families with children can become homeless. Also consider those who are unemployed, chronically or terminally ill, disabled, without heat or warm clothing, lonely, recently divorced, widowed or orphaned. On any Thanksgiving, there are a number of people who count their blessings through tears, as they count off their first holiday without a loved one.
Yes, sometimes life can seem to be an intermittent deluge of trials and problems, but whatever we are experiencing, there is hope, if our faith is rooted and established in Christ. We can trust God in every circumstance.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
I can not imagine the trials other folks have endured or the rough road they still have to travel. I have not traveled in their shoes, just as they have not traveled in mine. Perhaps my burden looks lighter to you, or your burden appears lighter to me, but appearances can be deceiving.
Thanksgiving is a day families get together and feast. The day was established to gratefully thank God for the blessings he bestows upon us, and no matter what our burden might be in this life, we can each give thanks for something. Yet, frequently we become so busy with the preparations and the excitement that we crowd God out of the celebration.
A home, family, food, employment, retirement savings or other physical blessings are things that come to mind when we think of giving thanks. We also have spiritual blessings, such as God’s grace and his perfect judgment tempered with mercy.
A grateful heart can recognize even a small blessing in a time of trial. This takes practice. So put down the drumstick and initiate a family practice session in Thanksgiving.
© 2005 Janice Price