Column: A Grateful Heart

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, November 22, 2023

By April J. Buchanan | Religion Columnist

It’s almost Thanksgiving.

What are our thoughts when we think of those words? Are we joyously anticipating it or are we dreading it? Are we looking past it to Christmas or are we counting how many paydays till Christmas and not knowing how we will ever be able to be ready in time?

You see, I have learned and I’m still learning that the pressure of such things can actually be beneficial in our sanctification.

When I’m cleaning and shopping in preparation for family and friends who will gather in our home, what is my heart and mind in it? How do I treat others not only on that day when all are here, but how do I think of others and treat others in the days ahead? Am I so burdened down with all that must be done and how to get it done or with concerns if I’ll be able to get it all done, that my actions, thoughts and words are unloving and unkind?

Am I considering my thoughts? Am I intentionally setting my heart and mind on what pleases God or am I excusing my thoughts because it’s a busy time of year and others will understand? Does my sanctification get to take a holiday?

Do I miss the beauty in all working in each their own way in the preparations or am I more concerned that all be perfect so as to make a good impression? But what kind of impression am I making in the time we prepare?

Am I only grateful when all has come together and is as I wanted it to be or am I grateful each day ahead even when everything isn’t as I would prefer it to be?

I’ve learned and I’m learning the beauty of the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying us.

When everything comes together and others have a wonderful time together and the dinner is everything we hoped it would be, but along the way we excused how we treated others because we needed it all perfect – could it be that we missed all those moments that God, in all His grace was revealing something more important He is doing in us?

Could it be that God is working in us, sanctifying us as we are busy in preparation? What if we didn’t wait til Thanksgiving Day to say what we are grateful for but in the days ahead, we recognized what God is doing in us and around us?

Being thankful isn’t for one day, it ought to be every day. I’m not minimizing how special and wonderful this day is for us all, I’m seeking to encourage us that on Thanksgiving Day, we are not valuing how successful it is by how perfectly everything came together, but while we may work hard to make it a wonderful time for all, that it’s not just that day, but all the days ahead.

As God so graciously works in us, let us thank Him for how He sanctifies us and often in such times as these when we are so focused outwardly that He is working inwardly and that which is greater.

Happy Thanksgiving! Grace and Peace Soli Deo Gloria