The week ahead is one of my favorite times of the year! Some food, some family, some football, which opens the door or sets the table if you will for the beautiful Christmas season ahead. Never mind that “the marketing world” opens that door before Halloween; this is the season before the season! As we approach Thanksgiving, even as a pastor, I have to remind myself that it is not just a day set aside for remembering God’s blessings and bounty. It is a time when the attitude of thanksgiving we should have every day is just more on display.
In this season, we all have an opportunity to make it very personal. While we may give thanks as a family or when we are gathered as His church, it becomes personal as we recognize that He has blessed “me.” It’s a time to change the pronouns and do some personal blessing counting!
Whether you prefer the old J. Oatman, Jr. hymn, “Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your blessings, see what God has done” (Great Hymns of the Faith, 1968, p. 370) or you are more moved by Matt Redman’s more recent reminder titled, “Ten Thousand Reasons (Bless the Lord),” both are a call “to count.” The problem is it seems few of us are very good at math!
When asked by his Sunday School teacher what he had to be thankful for, one little boy replied, “My glasses.” The teacher said, “Oh, yes, because they help you to see better.” He replied, “No, because they keep the boys from fighting me and the girls from kissing me.” Well, he had at least two things to count!
Let me share with you the words of Wilferd Peterson, who wrote: “The art of thanksgiving is thanks-living. It is thanking God for your talents and abilities by accepting them as obligations to be invested for the common good. It is thanking God for all that men and women have done for you by doing things for others. It is thanking God for opportunities by accepting them as a challenge to achievement…it is thanking God for beauty by helping to make the world more beautiful. It is thanking God for inspiration by trying to be an inspiration to others. The Art of Living (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1961), pp.44, 45.
As you sit down to eat this week, before you “count” the desserts or the many choices, count the ways God has blessed you and commit to be a blessing that someone else might “count”!
I am “thankful” for you!