With these three short essays, three members of iAt’s Editorial Board bring a fresh perspective to what it means to practice thankfulness through journaling, prayer, and song.
It’s 1944. Otto Steinke is too old to be drafted, his son just a few months too young. Besides, both are needed because the Allied cause requires mountains of food, food the Steinkes can produce on their Iowa farm. Not everyone can be a soldier—even some who really, really want to be.
In certainty and doubt alike, we give thanks. Doubt reminds us of our inability to determine or direct our own paths. It tells us that we are in the hands of One much greater and much more than we are. Certainty reminds us that we shouldn’t want to steer our own course, for in doing so we would certainly never reach our destinations.
A slow reading of Psalm 95 bounced me back and forth through the story of God’s people; reminding me of stories of rocks and foundations, of stones and salvation.
No matter what is going on in your story at the moment…no matter the pain, the sorrow, and the hurt, there is always something to be grateful for.
I desire to live in true thankfulness and gratitude—for every piece of the woman whom God created me to be. Yet it is counted false if the successes of those around me cause me to doubt my own identity.
This year, 1,100 miles separate me from the people with whom I have spent every Thanksgiving. Rather than holding to tradition, my plans involve waiting: waiting for the phone to be passed around to each loved one, waiting for the day to pass, waiting for Christmas so I can join them.
While that spider and my mild arachnophobia did give me chronic discomfort, my discomfort also made me hyper-aware of my surroundings. And, strangely, that’s where my gratitude for spiders comes in.
We know, in the abstract, that we might be wrong — we just never think we’re wrong in the here and now. But what if the space of being-wrong is precisely the space Christians — as redeemed sinners — are called to inhabit?
When we say we give thanks, do we really only mean the good things? Or, like our Savior on the night He was betrayed, could we really give thanks in all things, every single day?
Given how the logic of the two days work against each other, you may only be able to really celebrate one (even if you participate in both). So which day will highlight your week and your life—Thanksgiving or Black Friday?
“Rejoice always,” the Bible says. Be joyful when things go right; be joyful when things go wrong. Be joyful in every situation, even if that means ignoring our sinful instinct of worry and finding a joyful way of finding hope in the Lord.
Simply resolving to be more thankful doesn’t work. Despite my best intentions, I quickly forget, and instead fret after the desires of my sinful heart. It’s a rare day that thankfulness springs up spontaneously.