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God's Presence - The Spirit of Thanksgiving

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Is it possible to be thankful for everything life seems to throw our way? I often question the fairness or equity of situations I experience or see in the world. Then I turn to this passage from 1 Thessalonians, and it revives my spirit. Things may not always go the way we hoped, but through it all, God protects us and keeps us - through the good and the bad, the abundance and scarcity - even though we don't deserve it, and that is why I can be thankful. 

The spirit of thanksgiving is possible not because everything goes perfectly but because God is present. The spirit of God is with us and within us.

It is a choice to live with a grateful heart. This decision will not guarantee a life free of challenges, but it will move us closer to God. 

The "Spiritual Disciplines Handbook" author, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, set forth several spiritual exercises to build a grateful heart. As we enter this Thanksgiving season might you consider including one of these practices in your daily life?

  • Keeping a gratitude journal of the myriad gifts God has brought you.
  • End every day by saying thank you to God for at least one thing. Then tell God what that one thing meant to you.
  • Seeing what you have as quickly as you see what you don’t have.
  • Incorporate what encourages you in thankfulness (songs, time with friends, helping others, using your talents) into your life regularly.
  • Treasuring and valuing people by thanking them often and clearly for who they are to you.

After taking some time to reflect on the scripture and spiritual exercises, I encourage you to set a goal for 2023: When and how will you practice thanksgiving consistently? We don’t need to wait for New Year’s Eve. We can begin today - making every day a day of thanksgiving, for we are truly blessed.