I don't get a lot of things about Americans and American society but there are lots of things I think are really cool. And I think thanksgiving is one of those things they've got really right. Not the turkey and pumpkin pie part (although I could get into that too) but the part that involves a big celebration around the idea of gratitude. I know, it would be great to be gratitude people every day, all year round. It's also a wonderful idea to be intentional about giving thanks and set aside the time and space to do that.
I know my default can be to grumble or feel deprived in some way when I have so much more to be grateful for.
I grumble about our 100 year old house with its leaky roof and big bills to get it repaired, rather than give thanks for the privilege of owning this beautiful little Victorian house, for the warmth and shelter it provides and the blessing of somewhere to call home.
I long for a new car with working central locking, air-conditioning and radio rather than be content with our good little banger that keeps us warm, transports us safely and means this pregnant lady doesn't have to walk everywhere!
I can let a bad day in the office or a difficult colleague get me down when in fact I love the job I have and never stop being amazed at the dreams I get to fulfill there all the time.
I feel sad about how far away I am from family but really, deep down I am beyond grateful for modern communication, for the speed of the medical systems in my far away home, even for the peace in times of hardship and suffering that the Father gives. I'm thankful for the half of our family that lives near by and for the joy of doing life alongside them. I'm thankful for the faith we share with both sides of that family, that draws our bonds of love and family so much closer!
I can want to wish away the sciatica, despise the stretch mark appearing on my belly and hate that it now takes me longer to walk anywhere instead of expressing what an incredible, wonderful joy and blessing it is to be the mama of this tiny boy I get to grow inside of me and how happy it makes me to feel his little kicks and hiccups.
I can be short and annoyed with my husband and say all the harsh things I would never say to anyone else and so rarely say thank you to the wise, strong, kind servant-hearted man I get to share this life with. Rarely say thank you for his patience and love - for telling me I'm beautiful on a bad body-image day, for cups of coffee in the morning, for bending down and taking off my shoes and socks and putting slippers on my cold feet at the end of every day, for wanting our little family to grow more like the family Jesus would want us to be. And so much more.
I say vile things, my thoughts can be judgmental, and I am overall a tangled mess and I am thankful most of all that I am loved inspite of it, forgiven for it and I am being renewed and changed everyday to get rid of that stuff.
See? SO much to be thankful for. And that's just the big stuff.
I want to grow a thankful heart that means I appreciate all the little things that I have too - wonderful friendships, the best community around us, hot showers, free healthcare, being able to cook and eat good food, cake (too much cake!), good books, Christmas markets, strong coffee, Facetime, Netflix, holidays, did I mention good food?! I could go on. I know there's something about everything that I could give thanks for - a way to turn every moment whether its hard or beautiful or very ordinary into a eucharisteo moment. And I''m going to try.