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Remember to pause and give thanks
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Thanksgiving week is upon us. Next week, we will gather around the table with family and eat more than we should, laugh at stories that never were really funny and watch football games that hold no interest for many of us. We will pull out the Christmas decorations, and my wife even may convince me to fight the mall traffic.
I enjoy Thanksgiving so very much. This year will be special. My dad, my wife’s mom, our two sons and one daughter-in-law, as well as my sister, her husband and all of her children, their spouses and her grandchild are supposed to be with us all day Thursday.
If I have it right, there will be 16 at the table. They are going to let me fry the turkey. I know my wife will bake a pecan pie. And as I view the scene at the table that day, my heart will overflow with gratitude to the Lord.
There will be two empty chairs (at least in my heart) on Thursday. My mom and my father-in-law are gone. We probably will talk about them some. They both made such an impact on our lives.
I know that I have the opportunity to tell my story. But you will be at a table, too. You will be excited that some are there. You likely will have some empty chairs, too. And through it all, you will pause and give thanks.
In one of his letters, the apostle Paul wrote, “In everything, give thanks.” Notice that he does not say, “For everything, give thanks.”  Life has its frustrations and its tragedies. There are things that come our way that hurt us. We cause some of those difficulties ourselves.
And yet through it all, the Lord is our strength. And he is forever with us. I know there are those who reject any belief in The Almighty. And I know there are others who struggle with belief. They want to believe. But when things go wrong in their lives, it raises so many questions.
Let me assure you that I do not have all of the answers. In fact, I do not know anyone who does have them all. But I know the One who is the answer. I have faced my share of heartaches and troubles. But when I look at the big picture, I see that I have been blessed, far beyond what I deserve.
And it is important that I give thanks. You probably would come to the same conclusion. God is good. You need to give thanks.
Within the next few days, many people will be focused on the Christmas season. It is hectic and hurried. But before that happens, will you remember to pause and give thanks? God deserves our thanks and our praise. Let’s be careful to give him what he deserves.

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