On this Thanksgiving Day, we are invited to consider the blessings we have received from God. There are passages of scriptures that can guide us in our offering a litany of praise and thanksgiving or encourage us to pause and reflect. As I consider the wide range of experiences many of us have gone through this year, I am drawn to the Apostle Paul’s word to the church in Philippi when he writes, “I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry of having plenty and of being in need.” (Philippians 4:12) This verse comes shortly after his inviting others to “not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
There are times in life when words of thanksgiving come rather easily. I hope you will give expression to just how thankful you are in such wonderful seasons of life. There are other times when words of praise and thanksgiving seem hard to come by. In these moments, I find myself not giving thanks for the adversity or for the challenges, but giving thanks for how God is with me in such times and places. Offering words of gratitude certainly helps increase awareness that I am not alone and that God is with me. With such awareness, the darkness just isn’t as dark any more. The burden I am carrying though heavy seems a little lighter. Offering words of thanksgiving doesn’t dismiss what I am really sensing, but it is a step in the right direction. For those who are finding words of thanksgiving hard to come by this year, perhaps starting with the understanding that God is with you in the valley and thanking God for such a presence in your life is what it needed to take the best step forward.
Whether valley low or mountain high, I hope we each can be as the Apostle Paul and can learn that secret of being content. Such starts with giving expression of thanks in all circumstances, giving thanks for how God is not far removed from our experiences but with us each step of the way.