As the holiday season approaches, I get excited! The thrill of families coming together, enjoying great food, cooler weather, long-held traditions, and, of course, great food, is the recipe for my perfect time of year. There are so many traditions and rituals taking place during the holidays it can be difficult to tell one year from the next. The same family members eat the same meals, discussing the same issues, around the same table. Only when something changes or a new tradition is born does the year stick out clearly in my memory. A year I will never forget was not long ago when a new tradition was started. On Thanksgiving Day as all the family gathered around the dinner table, it was suggested that we each share the things we are thankful for. I had seen other families practice similar traditions, but this was the first time I was asked to share my list of blessings aloud.
As I went to work compiling my list of things to be thankful for, I started to feel a little embarrassed. How is it that all the Thanksgiving Days of my past had come and I had forgotten actually to give thanks? Then I realized just how long of a list I was going to have! A scripture came to mind …
Call out with joy to the Lord, all the earth. Be glad as you serve the Lord. Come before Him with songs of joy. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His field. Go into His gates giving thanks and into His holy place with praise. Give thanks to Him. Honor His name. For the Lord is good. His loving-kindness lasts forever. And He is faithful to all people and to all their children-to-come (Psalm 100).
I’ll never forget the feelings of thankfulness I felt on that day. A great tradition had been born.
It can be difficult at times for us to see God’s blessings; the holidays are not always full of good memories. People are forced to deal with tragedies and struggles even on holidays. In difficult times it’s important to remember that “the Lord is God ... We are His people and the sheep of his field.” We can be assured of God’s love for us and find comfort in his blessing. In hard times or times of blessing, we are never without thankfulness. We all need an occasional reminder to stop and thank God for his goodness. What better time to remember our blessings than on a holiday that was meant for giving thanks.