Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4: 11-13 (NLT)
It may be that the mood of the day is being painted still by the memory of that man holding a sign on the street corner. Maybe by the headlines in the day’s papers about the continuing problems in the Middle East, still paints life at times as a picture of little more to cling to than despair. Maybe the mood of the day for some is painted by the lingering concerns about our economy and their families. Or maybe it’s just the seemingly insurmountable mountain sitting just outside your front door.
And yet it’s Thanksgiving week. And as we enter this most distinctive of American holiday seasons, I can’t help but believe that no matter where we find ourselves, our country, and world, a mood of honest reflection will serve to remind us of moments of thankfulness and a reason for hope.
A reminder, that in the midst of pitiful poverty, suffering, hardship, failing crops, the loss of children and adults from their original number, three hundred and eighty-two-years ago in 1623, the Pilgrims gathered at their meeting house in the Plymouth Colony “to render thanksgiving to Almighty God for all His blessings.” Their thanks came after a difficult time establishing the beginnings of this great land. It came in the midst of a cold and hard winter. Their thanks came not in the midst of prosperity, but in the midst of adversity.
A reminder, that if the founders of our great Nation, and those who have followed throughout the centuries—sometimes to lay down their lives for us and their belief in this great experiment of God—had spent as much time listing and complaining about the problems of the day as we hear around us today, rather than solving them through their individual and collective strength, courage and faith, we may not be here today.
A reminder, that in the midst of our daily discouragements, disappointments and failings, God’s blessings are all around us—in a beautiful sunrise of promise for the day, or a newborn baby’s cry, in a Grandma’s wrinkled smile as she wraps her arms around her precious grandchildren. We find them in the beauty of spring, the crispness of a fall day, in a much needed rain, and the laughter of a child we have taken time to be with. And then in the midst of the busyness of life, God’s blessings appear in a table full of food, the spirit-lifting beauty of music, or the majesty of a closing sunset.
A reminder, of the blessing of true friends, who remain friends through everything, even the hard times.
A reminder, as my son Nathan is reminded day after day as he mentors a high school basketball team, and also travels to speak at various events, that perhaps you may be the one God placed in a particular setting and moment to make a difference in the life of that one person before you, and that when you reach out to touch someone’s life—God’s smile lights the world.
A reminder, of the most important things in life—those priorities of family that we too often let slip between our fingers until it’s almost too late. I was reminded of that again, by a note from our elder granddaughter Hannah to her Mimi and me during a visit a number of years ago. You may have received one of these yourself, perhaps even in an envelope decorated with shamrocks and containing a note inside adorned with four hearts—blue, orange, purple and green—and containing the following words—
“Can we eat thanksgivening food tegeter? I hope we can. I can’t wait to see you next time I do.” (Spelling uncorrected)
It’s Thanksgiving time again. And my hope for you and your family, for all of us, is that we might not only be reminded anew of those moments and people in our lives for which we should be thankful, but in the midst of whatever our week and day will bring, that we will embrace with grateful hearts those fresh moments of blessing provided by the One Who knows you best and loves you most.
In the midst of all the other moods being painted around us in our lives, nation and world—paint instead a mood of thanksgiving and appreciation for all the blessings of our lives.
Paint such a mood as that for today and the rest of your life, and it will carry you victoriously through each day and into the hope of all your tomorrows.
Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you—dear family and friends.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2016. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.