It’s Friday before Thanksgiving in the US. In less than a week, most of here will gather with friends and family to celebrate what the Pilgrims began in 1621–thankfulness for the harvest and the blessings of the previous year.
Are you feeling it, though? Do you overflow with thankfulness? Honestly, it’s taking me a little longer to get there. October is always busy in our household. But this year it was even busier. I had barely enough time to catch my breath when I moved into November. Gathering supplies and preparing for a scrapbook retreat (which was lovely, by the way) became almost all-consuming. But first, the Nutcracker Market. Usually those two fall on the same weekend and both have become a friend-filled tradition.
Exhausted, yet satisfied, I came home from my retreat to a delicately crafted email from one of my sisters asking if we were hosting Thanksgiving this year.
Uhmmmm …. YESSSS!!! How did I forget that? I hadn’t actually forgotten, but in my busyness, I hadn’t sent out our annual invitation with the menu and request for sides. Once that was sent out, it was time to get organized.
- Print every recipe (Yes, I use software for my cookbook. Don’t you?) 😉
- Check my pantry for ingredients
- Make a grocery list of everything I need (both what I can buy now and what waits for next week)
- Where are turkey’s on sale?
- When to start cooking what
- When to start cleaning the house …
On and on it goes. Don’t get me wrong. I love hosting Thanksgiving! But I’m an organized person and in order for things to go smoothly, I need to spend some time in planning mode.
Usually my head and my heart are moving at about the same pace, and we get to this time of the year together. Not so much this year. Rather than feeling thankful, I’m feeling a bit frazzled. (And it’s not even time to start planning for Christmas!)
Often we are looking for a feeling of thankfulness. But thankfulness is not a feeling.Thankfulness is not a feeling. Click To Tweet
It’s a conscious choice. Even so, there are some things we can do to get there more easily. Paul gives us his secret.
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness,” (Colossians 2:6-7, NLT).
First, we continue t0 follow Christ.
Just as we accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord, we follow Him by living a life that points others to Him.
“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us,” (1 John 4:11-12, NLT).
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples,” (John 13:34-35, NLT).
Second, we let our roots grow deep in Christ.
John 15 uses the metaphor of a vine and its branches to describe the relationship we are to have with Christ. As long as we are connected to the vine, the life-giving sap that travels through it allows us to have a fruitful life. When we are not attached to the vine, we shrivel up.
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong,” (Ephesians 3:17, NLT).
Third, we build our lives on the solid foundation of Christ.
In order to weather time, homes must be built on a solid foundation. Without that, they simply crumble when strong winds come. Our spiritual lives also need a solid foundation. Life will throw us its curves–always unexpected. The enemy wants those curves to cause us to crumble. A life built on Christ will certainly feel the stormy winds, but we don’t crumble.
“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken,” (Isaiah 28:16, NLT).
Following Christ, letting our roots grow deep in Him, and building our lives on Him–we grow strong. Then (I love the word then!) we overflow with thanksgiving.
We become more and more grateful for God’s provision. We recognize the great price Christ paid for us. We experience His love more fully. We are thankful that He forgave us when we didn’t deserve it! As a result, we are more thankful for the tangible things in our lives–people, our treasured relationships, and the things we get to enjoy.
It all starts with Christ. Our daily, time alone with Him.
When we neglect our relationship with Him, we are grumpy instead of grateful. Focused on Him and all He has done for us, we overflow with thankfulness.