Thankfulness Isn’t A Feeling

As we sit down to a big turkey dinner, surrounded by friends and family, we must remember that there are some grieving, others in pain, and those without shelter. Whether the loss is physical or emotional, it’s still a grievance and sometimes one that’s hard to reconcile. This is not reason that we shouldn’t enjoy our Thanksgiving day, but rather take our “I am thankful for…” a step further than we normally do. It’s so easy to think of a list in your head of the things that surround you on a daily basis that bring joy to your life, but what about the things we take for granted?

What would it look like if we were truly thankful to be alive?

This morning I watched a clip from a news channel of a boy who lost his siblings as their city and home were bombed. At first I didn’t want to watch it, who wants to start their day in sadness? But I quickly clicked on the link knowing that not watching wasn’t the answer. Today this kid is in turmoil, thankful that he’s not dead but not knowing if his family is still alive.

What if we were truly thankful for loved ones?

Many people talk about how much drama there is on the holidays and I completely understand this as we all have a dysfunctional family in some way, shape, or form. But what if we chose to look beyond the things that were causing strife and truly thank God for the woman that brought us into the world, or the father that brought us up?

What if we were truly thankful in the middle of disaster?

This past week I’ve been thinking back on the different dark times of my life, when getting out of bed was a chore, and even thinking of the word “joy” was a far off memory. It’s difficult in those moments to find even a glimmer of hope and thank God for the smallest thing. But, in looking back, I wish I had chosen more frequently to look up. Because being on the other side of the valley, I can see all the things that I could have been grateful for. I want to carry those with me when I venture into my next valley, because there’s always sure to be another one.

This post isn’t about purposely looking into the morbid voids of life, but rather being in a position to say, “thank you” and mean it, even when you don’t feel like it. Because, you see, thankfulness isn’t a feeling. The ability to acknowledge the good things around you isn’t an emotion. Rather, thankfulness is a position of the heart. A thankful heart realizes that the hand of God is beneath them, carrying them, regardless of the scenery.

This Thanksgiving, may we look to our Creator who breathed life into our bones, brought us freedom when we were in captivity, and restored us fully. I may not have the same burdens as you. But I am choosing to say, above all else, “Thank you! Thank you, Lord for the things you have done. Thank you, Jesus for renewing relationship.”

No matter what, I pray that each of us will take a deeper pondering into what we’re thankful for and why.

And as a Brit, I’m truly thankful that you have let me share in the beauty of this nation. No matter what may come, these past 8 years of living here are filled with moments I will cherish forever.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” – 1 Chronicles 16:34