Do any of you remember the Ideals Magazine? My Mom loved the Ideals magazine. Each magazine contained beautiful pictures of the season with stories and poems and recipes. Mom collected these magazines for years and they are still in a stack back home in Indiana. When I went to college, Mom gave me subscription so I could receive my own Ideals (just what I wanted to read in college!) When Mom sat in her rocking chair, it was right there on the end table to look at, along with the Upper Room Devotional, of course.
When you read this, Thanksgiving will be just a week away and Advent and Christmas are following close behind. Our lives and activities begin to get busy and our calendars begin to fill up with parties and concerts and shopping.
This year, slow down and enjoy and appreciate the present moment. We all have learned or will learn that things can change in the blink of an eye. Don't worry if things are not perfect in your life: it's OK if the meal isn't prepared and served on the table at one time or the table setting isn't picture perfect or your football team(s) are doing lousy this year! Those things are so trivial compared to the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving and prepare for Advent and Christmas.
“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.” [Psalm 100:45] Thanksgiving is more than a holiday, it is an attitude of thankfulness for all that we have been given by God: our health, hearth and home, the air we breathe. There is nothing we have, or any place we can go, that has not been touched by the hand of God. Whether we travel to new worlds or venture out to Main Street or Wall Street, God is the ultimate source of our provision.
The reality of these economic times and volatile political atmosphere find us in a place many of us haven't been before. Stocks have plummeted and many of our families are living on the edge. Yet, God is still providing and caring for our needs. God is with us, and still calling us to be faithful and fruitful! It is hard work, and begins with the realization that we have been blessed by God and we have much we can share. When we see what God has already done, when we remember God’s faithfulness through the generations, and when we begin to count the blessings we enjoy in these United States, we too can give God praise in the midst of present day challenges. We have every reason to be encouraged!
As you gather with your family on Thanksgiving Day around the table, begin with a prayer. Then go around the table and have everyone name something for which they are thankful. May God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving, and may we be truly thankful.