"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18
This Thanksgiving, I feel like I have more than ever to be grateful for:
*A good job in a struggling economy - and a job I enjoy, with great co-workers, an amazing boss, and a Christian atmosphere
*A caring, supportive family to whom I can come home every day and be warmed, comforted, and surrounded with their love
*A beautiful home, plentiful, delicious food, and an abundance of material possessions
*The time, resources, opportunity, and ability to continue pursuing my passion for music
*The opportunity to worship the Lord as church pianist
*Wonderful, caring friends whose love transcends the boundaries of time and distance
*And of course, a loving, forgiving, never-failing Savior-Father-Friend who is Always There
The list could continue forever - blessings large and small to count and cherish, for which to lift my voice in thankfulness.
This time of year it is so easy to be thankful. Time off work, holiday festivities, pantries and tables bursting with delicious food, happiness, fun, fellowship, friends, family, laughter, beautiful decorations, barely-restrained-childlike-anticipation, heartwarming carols old and new ringing from houses and hearts everywhere, and so much more make this season - starting with Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas - truly the most wonderful time of the year.
So, as I think about giving thanks in all things, with belly full, face glowing, and hands and heart warm, it seems pretty easy. But then I wonder....what about January.....bleak and unadorned by holiday magic.....will I be thankful then? Because having a thankful spirit is not just for Thanksgiving when it is relatively easy to give thanks. It is for rainy Mondays, bleak Januarys, heart wrenching, trial-filled days and days of motonous sacrifice, for valleys and plains, as well as the peaks. It is those days that really test whether I have a "gratitude attitude." A thankful heart can transform the bleakest day, the most painful experience into a beautiful act of worship. It is not circumstances that determine our destiny but rather our response, our attitude, our outlook. "Your attitude determines your altitude."
So, this holiday season as I lift my hands and heart to praise God for all that He has blessed me with, I also whisper a prayer that come January, I will make my own heart magic as I choose to give thanks in ALL things.
"...he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]."
~ Proverbs 15:15 (amplified)