When I was little, Thanksgiving meant two things: Christmas was right around the corner, and we were able to eat good food. As I got older, I came to understand more and more of what it represented. And as I got even older, I became disillusioned by the fact that so many people expressed their thankfulness only one day out of three hundred and sixty-five. But with that disillusionment also came realization: how thankful am I? How many things do I take for granted? I don't think I ever realized how thankful I should be until I lost things, dreams, and people that I loved and clung to. And then the thought came that those things could have never come to me in the first place. I didn't have to be brought into this world. But God chose me. And He wants me to know Him and depend on Him for my daily needs.
Christ is constantly working in our lives to bring us to pivotal moments where we become more and more dependant on Him.
I see this displayed almost every single day of my life. It's a relationship ending, a dream slipping away, news of cancer, trust betrayed, budgets failing, and daily disappointments that will either cause us to doubt God or ask, "What are you teaching me? Because I did not deserve _________ at all. And yet you gave. And now you're taking away. What do you want me to learn?" Granted, it is very difficult to respond like this naturally. I still fail day after day. But I hope that someday it will become second nature to me. The problem is that we are so self-centered. If we come to the point where we genuinely understand that we deserve absolutely nothing, then anything more than that is a free, beautiful gift. This means even life itself.
If you are living and breathing, your life is blessed. God chose to not just bring you into this world but to give you the chance to know and be loved by Him. The circumstances of this life are temporary. The pain is real. But so is the joy.
Real, meaningful thankfulness is intentional. We are wired to wake up and think, "Who is going to do something for me today? What is going to be said to me? Who is going to influence me?" What would happen if we woke up each morning with the intention of noticing the little blessings and were determined to be a blessing to someone else? Let's take our eyes off of ourselves. Let's be thankful. Because each breath we take is a reminder that God made us in His image and it is for His glory that we are alive.
Here is a glimpse into my Thanksgiving in Beaufort with my husband, dad, mom, and brother. Happy Holidays!