Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, but it is also just a day before my anniversary. Nine years ago, my wife Jody and I joined our lives together. That year it was a Sunday. We chose to have a Sunday wedding, after the church service, and slipped off to our honeymoon. Each Thanksgiving is thus a double holiday at our home.
I was a 40-something bachelor, and acquired a complete family on the spot. That has now expanded to include five grandchildren, all of whom are wonderful. I occasionally remind my children that I am really a stepfather, and thus totally unbiased. They can take my word for it when I claim that my grandchildren are the greatest ever!
This will also be the fourth year that we celebrate Thanksgiving and then the Christmas season without our son James. Though absent, he still remains a presence in all that we do. James always had very definite ideas on what should be done at the holidays and didn’t want any corners to be cut.
Paul tells us to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). There are times when it is much harder to rejoice than at other times. Paul similarly tells us a couple of verses later (4:6) not to worry about anything, yet elsewhere (2 Corinthians 2:13) he confesses to worry himself. I wonder if he also managed not to be joyful all the time?
I say this not to challenge the advice he gives, because I have found that being grouchy or worrying do nothing to solve any problems I may be having. They just sap my strength so that I actually can do less than I could otherwise.
At the same time, I still worry, and there are times when I don’t rejoice.
Tomorrow is a day to take the most positive possible attitude. Whether you are religious or not, you can be thankful. Thankfulness isn’t just for the person who is thanked. It helps the person who is doing the thanking. It gives you a moment of positive time, a moment that will be healing for you, if you let it.
I’m thankful for many things right now. I also have enough stuff that I could go nuts about. But I’m not going to do it. I’m going to enjoy time with my wife, and do some rebuilding of my spirit tomorrow, rejoicing and not worrying, at least as well as I can.