A good friend of mine recently said that Thanksgiving is the middle child of the holidays. You know, loved but often overlooked, especially with sibling Christmas right on its heels — the …
A good friend of mine recently said that Thanksgiving is the middle child of the holidays. You know, loved but often overlooked, especially with sibling Christmas right on its heels — the holiday that retailers start preparing for in late September. So, we can see why Thanksgiving is overlooked.
We shouldn’t be surprised that Thanksgiving is often minimized because it represents well our struggle to remain thankful in our day-to-day lives. It has been especially difficult these last couple years to remain thankful in the midst of the struggles we have been through.
But there are certainly benefits of being thankful. According to Harvard Health, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.”
Thankfulness takes the focus off us and puts it where it belongs. Not only do we hear about the benefits from Harvard, but there are also literally dozens of Bible verses and passages that remind us to be thankful. We see numerous benefits in scripture to thankfulness as well.
In Philippians 4:6-7 the Apostle Paul writes, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Did you catch the correlation between a lack of anxiety and going to God with thanksgiving? When we approach him in thanksgiving, it puts our focus on him and his faithfulness rather than our struggles. It puts things in the proper perspective.
Most every scripture passage that reminds us to be thankful also reminds us of the reason we can be thankful in everything: We can be thankful because he is faithful; he is sovereign; he has our best in mind and plan.
I know it’s hard to remember when we face difficulties and trials, but it remains true. We must simply remember the lengths to which he went to reestablish our relationship with him after we had broken it.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We were his enemies because of our sin, and he did what was necessary to make it right through the blood of Jesus.
That is why we remember and celebrate Christmas. That is when we remember Jesus’ birth as he came to give himself for us. That is a legitimate reason to look forward to Christmas, but let’s not allow Thanksgiving to be our middle child of holidays. Let us remember to be thankful in everything because God is faithful.
And as we work at being thankful, maybe, just maybe, we will see more smiles and less anxiety in our lives. Happy Thanksgiving, all!
(Jon Allen is the associate pastor at Grace Point.)