I love this time of year. I know that not everyone shares in my sentiments. Every year it begins, often right around Halloween. The busyness of my schedule picks up, the demands on my time, my emotions and my body seem to increase. There are errands to run, parties to host, gifts to buy, projects to finish, and family relationships that most times of year go unengaged, present themselves in all their glory (or not so glorious splendor).
I find it interesting that in a season where we are supposed to be giving thanks, supposed to be looking at the blessings, supposed to be giving and loving, we are often stressed, not real thankful, bitter, angry, upset, wounded, frustrated and lonely. In the season where we are encouraged to give thanks, is the season where thanks is often the very thing overlooked. Instead of looking at what is good, pure, lovely, of good report, we seem to hone in on the things we don’t have, the people we don’t see, and lives we aren’t living. We dwell on regrets, feed on comparisons, and nurse old wounds of unforgiveness. We point fingers, rekindle offense, and lose sight of the fact that there are things that are good. Things don’t seem good, and may not be all good, but there is something good. And we can be thankful for those things. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” If we are lovers of God, He will turn all things into good. He doesn’t say all things are good, but He promises that in all things He’s working for your good. That’s hopeful. That means that if I haven’t seen good yet in a situation, God’s not done! He’s still working on turning it around for my good.
I’m committing this season to go against the grains of how I feel and what I see and give thanks anyway. I’m thankful for the kids that I get to run after. I’m thankful for the hands that I have to cook and to clean. I’m thankful for the family, friends, and strangers that I get to love. I’m thankful for health and strength in my body. I’m thankful that I live in a country that’s free. I’m thankful that we get to have a meal together and not focus on whats going wrong in the world, but on what’s going right. I’m thankful that I always get a choice in how I respond to any and every situation.
So what can you do this holiday season to stay thankful? Keep your mind on things that are good. In our culture it is almost a default response that we have to look at the negative. On social media, in the news, on tv we get a constant stream of negativity. When we are feed so much negativity it cultivates an environment in our minds to follow the same pattern. If you struggle with negativity, if you struggle with depression and the blues, stay off of social media so much this season, turn off the news, you won’t miss much. Start instead filling yourself with positivity. Make a list of things that you are thankful for. Set aside time to be with people who fill your love tank and are positive influences. Do things you love this season and skip doing the things you don’t love. Make a list of every miracle you have ever seen. Celebrate the good. Give thanks for where you are, the season you are in, and the people around you. If its not a good season for you then give thanks that its just a season, it won’t last forever. If it is a good season give thanks that it is and be loving and comforting to those who are struggling.
I’m personally tired of seeing our world thrive on the negative. I’m tired of seeing our world thrive on the foundations of what we don’t have, and how we wish something would be. Let’s start focusing on what we do have instead. This paradigm shift can mean the difference between a happy holiday season and a miserable one.
Blessings to you all. Happy Thanksgiving!