It seems every year, the Christmas “season” starts earlier and earlier! Stores stock up their aisles of decorations, Snuggies commercials are everywhere, and the Hallmark Channel has those cheesy holiday movies back to back to back! I even saw a neighbor hanging Christmas lights the other day! However, I want to make sure we don’t pass up a really important thing that’s coming up before Christmas: National Cashew Day (jk). Of course, I’m talking about Thanksgiving! As we get immersed into the extended Christmas season, may we take time this week to welcome the attitude of giving thanks. As we look around with that thankfulness attitude, our eyes are opened to all of the gifts that God’s given us. These gifts could be as small as having warm socks on our feet, or as large of the love that God has for us!

There are many gifts that are easy to receive, and sometimes slip our mind to be thankful for because they’re familiar. The gift of clean water to drink, a warm bed to sleep in, fresh veggies to cut, heat on a cold day, a stranger’s smile, the list goes on and on.

However, not all gifts come in these nice packages. Some gifts are hard to receive because they’re actually tough times with blessings in disguise. In the “gift” of hard times, God comes close to those who are hurting, and offers an opportunity for His children to grow closer to Him. Your darkness has an opportunity to turn into new life! If the Bible has any theme, it’s that God loves to create new life, and use that life for His purpose, especially in the darkest of places. If we embrace these times with an attitude of thankfulness, a new perspective and a new light will shine on these dark places!

When we give thanks to God, it’s like we’re opening our hands and accepting whatever it is that He chooses to give us. We’re recognizing those gifts and showing that we trust Him. Thanksgiving builds trust. So before we “get all Christmas-ed up in here”, will you join me in giving Thanksgiving the focus it deserves, and then continue to give thanks for all of the gifts in our lives- the easy gifts, the hard gifts, small and large?

Finally, let me close by telling you that I love you, I’m praying for you, and I’m THANKFUL for you. This week (and all through the holiday season and beyond), may you bask in the truth that our God LOVES you completely and perfectly each and every day! Happy Thanksgiving!