A Thankful Life

With the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaching, most of us are focused on the many things in our lives that we are thankful for. The world around us wants us to focus on everything that isn’t exactly right in our lives or how much we don’t have compared to our neighbors. The world focuses on what we don’t have instead of the blessings all around us. So, how do you live a life of thanks instead of a life of want?

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we are told to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” No matter the circumstances, we are to be thankful. We are thankful because as Christians we already have been given the greatest gift of all, eternal life through Christ. Knowing this truth, nothing in this world should keep you from offering thanks every day.

After World War II, this beautiful poem was found on the wall of a cellar in the Cologne concentration camp. The person that wrote this knew to be thankful, no matter the circumstance. I cannot begin to fathom how horrible this person’s circumstance was. Most of us will never know or see the horrors they faced. Yet even in the darkest of times, they saw hope, they imagined a world of love, they remained thankful.

“I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when He is silent.
I believe through any trial,
there is always a way.
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
my child, I’ll give you strength,
I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while.
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there’s no one there
But I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.
May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace….”

Living a life of thankfulness is a choice. Is it easy? — Oh goodness, no! It is much easier to wallow in misery and complain. What will the world think of Christ and Christians if all they see is us complaining about our trials and troubles? Do you think they would want to commit their lives to Christ if all they see are down-trodden people? Of course not! It would be easier to stay living in a world full of sin and disappointment. What would be the point of becoming a Christian if nothing in their life will change?

As Christians, we are to look different to the world. We should be easy to spot, like a light sitting on a hill. Colossians 3:15 says “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” A few verses later, the importance of being thankful always is made again in verse 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.” These verses remind us to be thankful for everything we have, even when life seems impossible. By expressing thankfulness, we can find joy and peace in our lives and strengthen our relationship with God.

My favorite chapter in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 4. It gives me so much courage and thanks as a Christian. It urges us to never loose heart and to keep pressing on towards our goal, which is heaven and eternal life with Christ. The chapter ends with so much hope and thankfulness. It offers such peace. “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I hope that this Thanksgiving you give thanks for all your blessings and that you continue to live a life of thankfulness the entire year. Living a life full of thanks will strengthen your faith and will help others around you find theirs.

This week’s recipe is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. It actually makes the perfect side dish all autumn and winter long. It takes sweet potatoes and apples and roasts them together with warm cinnamon for a delicious and comforting side. It pairs perfectly with any protein. I hope your family loves it as much as mine!

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7