Fall is upon us which brings a change of season filled with cozy sweaters, hot drinks, comfy nights at home and of course, the festivities that surround thanksgiving.
As much as it’s enjoyable to spend the holidays with loved ones, eating tasty food, having some time off work and even perhaps reflecting on things to be thankful for, I do believe there is a danger in identifying one day a year as Thanksgiving Day.
I do not dismiss the holiday in the slightest, in fact I absolutely condone the holiday itself, though in reflecting, I felt both challenged and encouraged by the thoughts that came to me.
I’m certain many people count their blessings more then one day a year.
However when we identify with celebrating one day a year as a time to be thankful, we are in a way implying that the “thanks” is expected that day and that it isn’t necessarily expected on others. In a way we are subconsciously agreeing to being extra thankful on one day in particular. I have my reservations about getting into this habit out of fear for things becoming a habit. Giving thanks and feeling grateful should never ever be given out of habit.
I think we all need to be mindful to implement the feelings of gratitude and appreciation for various seasons of our lives, even the difficult seasons when there doesn’t feel much to be thankful for.
Now because I am still in a difficult season of life, it is so easy to have a bitter taste in my mouth as this holiday is upon me.
Nevertheless, as easy as it is to dwell on the unfair circumstances I am in, it’s also just as easy to see all the positives.
Thus, shifting my focus on what is, rather then what should or could be, it’s allowing me to find even the little things that bring me some joy.
The bible encourages us as believers to count it all as joy through various trials.
It’s easy to apply that mindset when it’s once a year, it’s far more difficult to apply it consistently.
Once this holiday is all said and done, I admit I can finally breathe again and not have to compare my life to others, not feel obligated to post a cliche photo on Instagram probably with pumpkins, to amplify my negative situation in my mind or to put on a front for the public eye. Anyone who’s undergoing or has undergone a difficult season in their life can empathize with me on this.
The expectation to have it all together is real and can be overwhelming especially when it comes to holidays.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I think it’s important irregardless of what situation your facing in life, that we mustn’t get too comfortable with celebrating a specific holiday once a year, especially as a christian.
For example, remembering the birth of Jesus at Christmas, when Jesus rose again for Easter, to make someone feel special on their birthday, to celebrate the fact we live in such a free country with so much on Canada day or to celebrate what we can all be thankful for on Thanksgiving.
As great as it is to celebrate these special events, my thoughts are that we as a society could all use the challenge to not get so caught up in “celebrating the holiday” by cooking the perfect turkey and having that Pinterest perfect table decor, but rather celebrating the meanings included in a holiday aside from the actual holiday itself.
This means constantly remembering that Jesus was born, died and rose again for us. It means to celebrate the life of someone aside from their birthday. It means being grateful for the country we live in constantly. It means being thankful for the blessings in our lives and those in it everyday. It means as a whole, to be forgiving, encouraging, slow to judge, quick to help, being more positive, lending a hand, being more intentional in relationships and appreciating not just the big, but the little things in life as well.
Interestingly enough the act of being grateful has been proven by research to enhance one’s quality of life. It should be no surprise, someone that has a positive outlook on life, enhances the life of not only themselves but those around them.
Gratitude magnifies our experiences in life which enables us to enjoy them to the fullest. Gratitude eliminates room for all the “what ifs” “disappointments” “hurts” and “failures”.
Gratitude can help us endure the hard things in life with a more advanced perspective on the situation by counting all our blessings and never letting anyone or anything in our lives go unappreciated.
Gratitude can bring humor to tough seasons as a healthy method to get through the difficult times and focus on what is good.
Gratitude is enjoying every bit, the good times and the bad, the easy moments and even life’s hard moments.
I encourage & challenge others and even myself, to make thanks giving a season of life, rather then just a holiday that we celebrate in the season of fall