Cultivating Gratitude

Alas, Thanksgiving is over.  The turkey and all the trimmings have been gobbled, the dishes washed and put away. The children and grandchildren have all gone home and the mums on the front steps are wilting in the rain.  The house echoes with conversations and laughter.  Sigh. 

Then I remember:

Thanksgiving is far from over.   It’s not just one day a year when we gather around a feast and talk about the blessings we’ve experienced over the past year.  It is a state of mind that can remain with us each and every day. 

Sometimes, in the darkest of night, when worries worm their way into my mind, and steal my sleep, I remember thankfulness is seeing real life, rather than the shadows of how hard our temporal time on this earth can be.  Life is hard.  Yes.  But — I am God’s child. (John 1:12)  I am Christ’s friend. (John 15:19)  I have been bought with a price.  I belong to God.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.  (Ephesians 2:18)  I am free forever from condemnation. (Romans 8:1, 2)  I am assured that all things work together for good.  (Romans 8:28) I am a citizen of Heaven. (Philippians3:20)  I can find grace and mercy in time of need.  (Hebrews 4:16)  I am God’s temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16)   I am God’s workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Philippians 4:13).  And there are so many other blessings and promises listed throughout scripture to tell us the Truth about God, ourselves, our relationship to Him, life in general and our future. How can we not feel thankful when we begin to think about what Christ has done for us?  He didn’t just save us.  He offers us life abundant.  Thank You, Jesus. 

Still, it is a decision, isn’t it?  Rick used to ask me, “Is your cup half-full or half empty?”  Usually when I was whining about something…  I still occasionally need that gentle reminder to lift my eyes and heart to Jesus. 

Blessings are not always the job we have, the house, town or country we live in.  The greatest blessing is the gift we’ve received through Jesus – a relationship with the Father who made us and loves us day in and day out to the end of time.