Thanksgiving time is such a special time. It’s a time to reflect on all we’ve been blessed with and as Christians it’s a time to reflect and thank God for all He’s provided. There’s always something to be thankful, as cliché as that may sound.
We have been through some hard years in the past and are struggling this year. Times like this used to make it hard for me to be thankful. I used to wonder why God allowed things to happen or not happen. Recently, God has shown me our struggles aren’t about us they are about bringing Him glory. He can shine through the hard times. He can provide when all hope feels lost. I’d say that is most certainly something to be thankful for every year.
This year for thanksgiving we are planning on taking my kids to a local hospital and hand out “cancer baskets” to those patients fighting cancer. The reason this resonated so much at least for our family is at least half of my husband’s family has cancer or will have cancer. His grandfather died from a viscous fast growing genetic cancer. My kids are going to see death from cancer in their lives. I want to take them and serve those struggling and fighting cancer.. I want to show them how to be a light to those in pain. I want to show my children who the true Light is for us. I am so excited to be able to take part in a service project this year. I’m most excited about how it will alter my children’s thinking. I am waiting anxiously to see their generosity and kindness blast through. Oh it warms my heart just thinking about it! I think it’s going to be a great lesson but also a great memory for my kids.
Now, I’ve TRIED to live a life of gratitude with my kids. I try to point to Christ as often as my mom brain can remember. When we see beautiful clouds or a pretty sunset I tell the kids God made that for us. Even when things go wrong I try to praise Him for what He’s going to do instead. When we pray at night I always thank God for everything He’s given us, even when we have a tight week or can’t afford much we have been blessed beyond measure. I’ve made a conscious effort to bring God and God’s gifts to us in our daily lives. I think it actually helps more when money is tight. It points to all the gifts money can’t buy and how special those things are to us. We have a pretty little house, we have beds and clothes. We have family that loves us.
Every year on thanksgiving since I was about four years old, we’ve done a thanksgiving tradition we call the Blessings Jar. It’s a medium size ceramic jar with the word blessings on it and a cork lid. It’s so simple but it’s such a happy memory in my childhood. On thanksgiving, once every one has eaten we would sit around the table with small pieces of paper and pens and each person would write what they were thankful for that year, sign and date it. Once every “blessing” was written down we would read blessings put in the jar from the years past. There’s one in there from when I was four and first learned how to write. I love reading them. From new homes, jobs, new additions to the family, pregnancies, job loss, I can see how much God has blessed us. I love being able to look back on each years blessings. It really shows where my heart was at and I can see what God was about to do. It’s really special.
I am in possession of the blessings jar now. I even got my in-laws to take part every year. Really, any one who does thanksgiving with me gets to do the blessings jar. My kids are involved now. This will be the first year my oldest can write his blessing on his own. It’s such a treasure to be able to pass on to my kids from my grandparents who started it all.
So, no matter any one’s financial situation, marital situation, or material situation, there’s always something to be thankful for. Once you start looking for things to be grateful for its hard not to see them everywhere. God is so good.