As I write this, much of the Middle East is embroiled in turmoil. Syria is a mess . . . ISIS is on the run, but still poses a serious global threat. A terrorist plot was just averted in Europe. Our nation is divided over the recent election. Demonstrations continue around the country. There are many who fear the future and what changes might come. Daily tragedies tug at our hearts. In spite of the economic recovery too many people do not have a living wage. Painful stories of tragic events come to families who live near us. Our own lives have there share of grief and pain. We are anxious for ourselves and those we love. Depression strikes. Our dark moods deepen. We wonder what there is to be thankful for.
In challenging moments we have a choice. We can focus our thoughts on the painful pieces of life or we can focus them on the good. A bit of perspective helps. Not so many years ago, in the spectrum of the ages, pilgrims driven by their need for religious freedom came to this country. Life was difficult. Cemeteries filled quickly as hunger and disease spread across the colony. The men, women and children who survived had to work through their many losses and the tremendous amount of pain those losses brought. In spite of that, when the first harvest after several bad years came through, they turned their eyes toward God. They reflected, not on their losses but, on their many blessings. Our pilgrim fathers and mothers did this because they knew that even in painful moments, God never stopped loving them.
When we look at our lives honestly we have much to be thankful for. We have reason for giving thanks even in an imperfect time. God does not abandon us. God walks with us through the heartaches of life. When I take time to list the blessings I experience daily, I am amazed at all the gifts I so take for granted. I see the ordinary gifts of color and beauty, of harvest and food, warmth and shelter. I remember the people God has put in my life who have graced me at different stages and times. I think of struggling moments which led to life long friendships. I find blessings in my family and joy in relationships. I celebrate God’s faithfulness and mercies.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night” Psalm 92:1-2