On this day of thanksgiving Americans all over the country show their thanks by overstuffing themselves with food that is rarely seen on the table any other day of the year. Sure, we eat turkey on other days, but how often do we take the time to baste and roast a full bird? The same goes for dressing, sweet potato casserole, and cranberry sauce; foods that make you go “Ugh, I ate too much! Pass the pie.”
More important than the food is the thanks we are supposed to be giving for the blessings God has bestowed upon us. Using gluttony as a tool for thanking God has a certain oxymoronic ring too it if you ask me. Perhaps Thanksgiving should be a day of fasting instead of feasting. Or perhaps we should be more mindful of giving thanks every day instead of saving it all for the last Thursday in November.
My aunt, the Sister, has the right idea. This is what she has to say about being thankful,
“I tell you what. Every morning think of five things that you’re thankful for. I can name all my five I name every morning. Five things that you’re thankful for, every day. That will make you feel a little bit better.”
Since she told me this I’ve tried it many times. It’s hard to think of five things at 5:45 in the morning, but I think God appreciates the effort at least. The first thing at the top of my list is “Thank you, God, for letting me open my eyes on another day.” Then I stumble out of bed and hobble around until the muscles in my back warm up enough to allow me to stand in an upright position and continue my mental list of five things.
I am thankful for my family every day. I am thankful I have a home to keep me warm and dry and a job so I can continue to be warm, dry and fed. The list could go on and on, and sometimes there are so many things to be thankful for I have a problem prioritizing them into a list of only five.
My aunt is a wise woman, and her daily list of five things is an inspiration to me. But on Thanksgiving I think we should set aside the list of five and give a sum total of all the things for which thanks should be given for the whole year. Here is mine for this year:
Thank you, God, for my family, my home, and my job. Thank you for ten months of opportunity to prove to myself I can do a job that is beyond my comfort zone, even if I blundered at times. Thank you for the blunders to prove to myself I did not want the job. Thank you for new friends, old friends, new experiences, and refreshing changes. Thank you for the moxie to make a life changing decision and stick to it knowing it will be hard at times but worth it in the end. Thank you for sending me to church even on those days when I would rather go back to bed. Thank you for time spent with my sister cousins and friends. Thank you for card games that run late. Thank you for allowing me to wreck my car and survive, proving that every minute is a gift not to be taken lightly. Thank you for pennies from heaven, rocks with faces, bird feathers, and all of the other little things you set in my path to brighten my day. Thank you for the laughter and tears, and the stability to know the difference. Thank you for giving me words to express my feelings, and your Word to live by.
Tomorrow morning I must try to remember to list my five things. As my aunt says, “That will make you feel a little bit better.” I’m agreeing.