“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories comes from back in the early ’80s when I was a child in elementary school. I had several cousins who were all close in age to both me and my younger brothers, and we had the best time playing together at our granny’s house. One particular Thanksgiving we played outside and built huts out of pine straw. We played in the huts, ran around the huts and destroyed the huts, all to begin building them over again. Inside the house, we oohed and ahhed over the feast of food on the table and we always squished together around the blue Formica “kids table” to eat while our parents sat together at the dining room table.
Granny was a nurse’s aide at a hospital for intellectually disabled people, and because she enjoyed art, one Thanksgiving she sketched in marker several copies of the holiday illustrations from the bulletin boards at the hospital for each of us grandkids. I still have mine – an elf riding on a turkey. I loved that picture! At those special family holiday dinners, our hearts were warmed with laughter and good times together. I am thankful for those memories of good times with family.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories? Cherish those, but also look with thankfulness on the present and to making new memories. The condition of our heart, as Solomon tells us in Proverbs 4:23, is of utmost importance, because it guides us in our words, thoughts and actions. To enjoy life, we must guard our hearts by aligning our attitudes with God’s word. Colossians 3:2 tells us to “set our minds on things above” and later in verses 12 and 13, to “clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,” and to forgive one another. In order to truly live like this, we need the Holy Spirit to help us and we need to live with a thankful heart.
When we find something to be thankful for in every situation – yes EVERY situation – our heart will experience positive changes. If you struggle with being thankful, pray for God’s wisdom and grace to help you do so. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 to present our prayer requests to the Lord with thanksgiving. In verse 7, he explains that when we do this, we can experience peace like no other.
As Thanksgiving approaches, consider what the Lord has given you. Find things for which to be thankful. In her book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp challenges readers to live with gratitude, and asks them to make a list of 1,000 things for which they are thankful. Beginning a list of things we are grateful for is a great way to prepare our hearts not only for Thanksgiving but also for living a life filled with gratitude.
One of the things on my list will be each of you, who have so graciously supported me in reading this blog. I pray you have a blessed Thanksgiving!