Thanksgiving is about 'Thanks-living'

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gentlemen, start your engines. No, it's not race day. It's not even preparation to drive to work or the latest vacation destination. It's time to get ready for Thanksgiving.

Food, travel, daylong football and the launch of the great Christmas deals all accompany our Thanksgiving traditions. For weeks my local grocery store has been putting out all the necessities for the Thanksgiving feast. Travel has been booked, plans have been made yet it seems for so many that this year perhaps more than other years is the year to choose to be thankful.

Yes, there are many reasons to be unthankful. There are many things imposed on us, things not of our own choosing, things that are beyond our control. We all need reminding that the ability to hold and express a thankfulness of the soul is not conditional. Thankfulness of the soul is a determination of our hearts and minds. Even when we are blessed with little we can choose to rejoice, we can choose to be thankful.

Philippians 4:4 reminds us "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice."

These words of Scripture challenge all to choose to rejoice. These words were composed through a man who was sitting in prison. A man who had spent the past five years moving from jail to jail via lynch mob, assassination attempts and a shipwreck.

A man who learned in his soul that choosing to embrace and express thankfulness is not conditional. A man who understood that when we wait for the conditions to be just right before we express and embrace thankfulness then we will never be thankful.

Thanksgiving is not about "Thanks-getting" as much as it is a day of "Thanks-living." It is crucial to our souls that we carve out time in our hurried schedules and our multitasking mindsets to express thankfulness for the many blessings in our lives.

When we verbally express what we are thankful for we inadvertently remind ourselves what is most important in our lives.

The repetition of the aforementioned verse reminds not only to choose to rejoice but that we must keep returning to that choice. Determining once to be thankful is never enough.

We must choose and remind ourselves regularly to be thankful.

The third Thursday of November is not just a day of Thanksgiving it is a reminder to live daily being thankful.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at

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