By Dan Wiese
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Plans are being made for family gatherings, a delicious meal and, for some, travel to be with family and friends. In all the busyness of the holiday preparations, don’t forget to do what the holiday was meant to remind us to do! Be thankful!
There is an old hymn of the church called, “Count Your Blessings.” The chorus of that hymn tells us, “Count your blessings! Name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.” That is a very practical suggestion. Among that number of blessings, you might list each of your loved ones, the blessings of food on the table, a home to live in, warmth from the cold, a great community in which we live, maybe your place of worship. We could be thankful for the job we have, our health, or the car we drive. The list can go on and on!
We tend to be reminded of those things when we don’t have them. Our church participates in the wonderful program, Family Promise, providing temporary housing for families who find themselves homeless. Suddenly, being thankful for a home seems very important. My truck has been disabled in the driveway for a week and a half. I suddenly realize how thankful I am when I have a truck that runs, which I hope to be soon. Over the past couple of years, I have had some health issues. I am thankful today for my health. I am thankful for my church family that I have been with for the past 10 years. They truly are a blessing!
Psalm 100 is a psalm of thanksgiving. In the New International Version 1984 it reads:
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
God has blessed us more than we can imagine! These past couple of years has provided much to complain and grumble about. No one likes COVID! No one likes any kind of conflict or tension in our world! They bring many concerns. And it can be overwhelming and even depressing at times!
But there is a reprieve from all that depressing news and stress. It is right at our doorstep! It is choosing to set it all aside for a while and focus on what you are thankful for in your life. When you begin to count your blessings, you begin to see there are a lot of good things happening in your life. You can see that, despite the hard things of life, there are also many blessings God has given us for which we can thank Him.
I have seen some on social media take the challenge to post one thing every day for which they are thankful. I like that as it keeps our focus on what is good in our life, rather than only on what is hard or what is going wrong.
Psalm 118 is another psalm of thanksgiving. The writer acknowledges bad things happen in our lives, but surviving the hard things is much easier when we give thanks to the Lord. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.”
Take time to give thanks to the lord! His love for you endures forever!
• The Rev. Dan Wiese is pastor for the Church of the Nazarene. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Friday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.