Over the past couple of weeks we’ve highlighted a brief history of Thanksgiving as a holiday and what we can do to make the holidays more enjoyable…or maybe just less stressful. 

Thanksgiving (and Holidays) Can Really Stink

Some folks see Thanksgiving as follows:

“For those of you who cannot be with family this Thanksgiving, please resist the urge to brag.”  Andy Borowitz

“Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings, one by one, as each relative goes home.”   Melanie White

While these sentiments hit close to home for many, I’ve not met one single person who goes into the holidays saying, “Here comes another holiday season, I can’t wait to get completely stressed out, take it out on my family and friends then pack away the décor and pseudo-decorum for a year so we can miserably do it all again!” 

Thanksgiving: A Better Way

All of us desire to have wonderful holidays with pleasant memories that we can look forward to and pass on to our children and grandchildren.  So how do we do that?  I’m going to show you not only how you can do that but how you can continue with that same Spirit throughout each and every day, making your life much less stressed and your relationships much more fulfilling.

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.” Gerald Good

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”  Maya Angelou

As we’ve declared in previous posts, Thanksgiving is not just a day or season but for it to be real it must be a continual, daily “Attitude of Gratitude.”  In other words, if you want the peace and contentment day-to-day in the midst of all the hassles and frustrations, ups and downs, you must learn to choose thankfulness in all things. 

“Yeah, right!”  I can hear you now, “You have no idea what my life or my family is like, what I’m going through!”  Well I probably don’t but I know Someone Who does and He cares deeply for you. 

Actually it’s not about giving thanks specifically for the burdens, trials and pains that you endure…it’s about trusting and knowing that God cares for you and is at work in every situation, good and bad, to bring about His will first and foremost for His Glory and, in line with His Glory, for your good!  It’s much greater than just what you face in the moment.  He sees the whole picture, has a much bigger plan and wants you to fully embrace it.  It’s the only way to know the peace, joy and love that you desperately seek.  It begins with giving thanks in all things!

If you choose to do so, by faith, you can learn to always give thanks for His Presence and work in your life, relationships and circumstances – Romans 8:28 (don’t read this from a selfish perspective as it will only make you less grateful).

Thanksgiving as an “Attitude of Gratitude” and “lifestyle of giving thanks” makes a tremendous positive difference for you and in all your relationships.

Here’s some quotes from others that have found this really works…

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”                                                Charles Dickens

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”  Willie Nelson

Thanksgiving for All of Life

I want to share with you one simple exercise that has helped me and many others develop a continually thankful heart.  It flows from all that you’ve read to this point.  You simply learn, and meditate on, the Names of God.  As you do so you will find that two things happen:  1) You begin to know and love Him much more intimately and; 2) You begin to recognize that your circumstances never change Him.  He’s always faithful and you can always give thanks for this Truth and for His work in your life. 

Following are just a few of the Names of God (some have detailed nearly 1000 names) showing His character and heart toward us as revealed in Scripture assuring us that no matter what was taking place, He remained constant and for that, above all else, we can choose to be grateful.  The following names are just a few from Scripture.  For these and more go to Bibliatodo:

Elohim – All-powerful, sovereign Creator in covenant relationship with us (Genesis 1:1-3; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalms 68; Mark 13:19; Colossians 1:15-20)

El Elyon – Lord Most High (Genesis 14:17-22; Psalms 78:35; Daniel 4:34; Acts 16:17)

El Shaddai – Almighty God (Genesis 17:1-3; 35:11; 48:3; 49:25; Psalms 90:2)

I AM/Immanuel – Personal God in Covenant Relationship with us (Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 7:14; 8:8-10; Matthew 1:23; John 1:1, 14)

Jireh – Omniscient Provider, Deliverer, Savior (Genesis 22:8, 14; Psalms 23:1)

Rophe – Healer, Restorer, Sustainer (Exodus 15:25-27; Psalms 103:3; 147:3; 1 Peter 2:24)

Nissi – Banner of Strength, Conqueror, Victory (Exodus 17:15-16; Deuteronomy 20:3-4; Isaiah 11:10-12)

M’kaddesh – Holy God Who sanctifies you (Exodus 21:12-13; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Hebrews 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

Shalom – The Lord is Wholeness, Peace (not dependent on circumstances) (Numbers 6:26; Judges 6:22-24; Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 13:20)

Sabaoth – Lord/Commander of Hosts who battles for us (1 Samuel 1:3; 17:45; Psalms 46:7; Malachi 1:10-14; Romans 9:29)

Rohi – Shepherd who helps us – concern, care, provision, guidance (Psalms 23:1-3; Isaiah 53:6; John 10:14-18; Hebrews 13:20; Revelation 7:17)

Tsidkenu – Righteousness, Justice, Wisdom (Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Shammah – Promised and ever-present help, security, protection, fellowship (Ezekiel 48:35; Psalms 46; Matthew 28:20)

He never changes and I can always count on Him.  When I learned to trust in Him, no matter what, everything in my life began to change. 

Remember, “God’s love and grace are every bit as evident in what He withholds as in what He provides.”  (Tweet this).

This takes faith but that’s what grows as we continue to know Him more and more…His love and grace are every bit as present and powerful in the struggles and in what He withholds from us and brings us through as they are in what He provides and does for us…He knows best and He’s always with us even when we can’t sense Him!  For this we can always be thankful.

Giving thanks in all things?  It’s easy when things are going my way, fun is being had by all and everyone loves everyone else…but how do we do it when feelings are hurt and folks have been betrayed, when we reap consequences of bad decisions that we made or that others have made that hurt us, when jobs are lost and even worse, loved ones are gone?  How do you give thanks then? 

We give thanks because above all else, God is God (see Names above).  Thanksgiving is an attitude and a lifestyle according to God’s Word that will make all the difference in your life and relationships! 

Choose today and every day to be thankful and have a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving in Christ!

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – What do you tend to give thanks for?  When everything is going your way?  When you have all you desire…at least in the moment?  What if giving thanks for everything at all times could completely change your attitude and life? 

Love and Lordship…Action Item – Today (and every day following);  Choose 1 Name of God listed above or in links and prayerfully focus on how you can be thankful to Him as He reveals Who He Is in your life;  Choose 1 blessing He has given you and give Him thanks; Choose 1 trial, pain or loss that you’re dealing with and equate it to His Name that assures you that He’s with you and give Him thanks.