Tonight I want to share two keyword searches on two of my blogs. While tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US, rather than seeing much in the way of what people are thankful for, I am seeing exhortation to be thankful instead, and many asking what others are thankful for. Some of those questions get answers, many don’t. I find this troubling as most of my contacts are fellow believers, or at least claim to be, and God tells us repeatedly to be thankful, to give thanks, to come before Him with thanksgiving etc. I have to admit some disheartening and dismay to see more memed exhortation to be thankful, than actual, “I am thankful for…” posts among those I interact with of US origin.
Is it because of the waves around us right now? The medical/political/economic/social storm we are all in together? Remember what happened to Peter when Christ called him to step out of the boat. . . When he looked at Christ, he could obey and walk on water, but when he looked at the waves around him, he began to sink and cried out for help. Christ was merciful and reached a hand to save Peter, but rebuked his lack of faith.
The onslaught of meme usage over the past several years, Twitter, etc, has led to what I like to call “sound-bite culture”. In “sound-bite culture”, you can’t get the context for anything because all you see are a few words at best. There is a picture to go with it typically, but if you aren’t steeped in secular media/entertainment sources, many of those images and their attempted background meaning to the meme will be lost on you. Even editors I’ve used in the past for my books (not all of them, but some of them) couldn’t go two paragraphs without asking me to explain all over again in the third paragraph what I was referring to when it was already fully explained two paragraphs earlier. I am seeing many sources turn God’s Word into memes which isn’t helping with the development of twisted, changed or false doctrine.
But all of this means we as an Internet-based society now, are typically not getting the full picture of anything either. So we see what’s going on around us in terrible, shocking, bothersome sound-bites and that’s where we stop. This does not help the mental and emotional state of those around us when all they see is our own addition to the dangers of sound-bite culture.
We need to shut off the sound-bites, shut off the memes, read 10 verses on either side of the Scripture meme we just saw, and start refocusing on what God is doing right now. Remember that God is capable of turning every bad situation into something that will bring Him glory! Whenever someone stops to examine their daily life for a moment these days, if they are honest, they will see where God is moving and where a surprising benefit grew out of the stressful state of affairs we are under.
This Thanksgiving in the US in this season should kick off an entire month+ of gratitude for how God is moving over the year 2021! Start small if you have to, but start listing off what you are thankful for.
Over the years, I’ve written various articles where I talk about gratitude. In some of those articles I’m grateful for something. In other articles I am exhorting to live a life of gratitude and showing how God appreciates it from His children. Below I am sharing links to search results on two of my blogs:
The S.M.A.R.T. blog: (short list)
The Author blog: (2 pages of results)
As a Canadian, we celebrated Thanksgiving in October. This year I am particularly
- Grateful for my kids’ essential service jobs.
- Grateful for my daughter’s new Tiny Home and how that eliminates half the rental problem so far.
- Grateful for God’s ongoing protection both on the roads around here, our health, and during this pandemic.
- Grateful for His provision on various practical levels.
Don’t just encourage your friends to be thankful this season, but go first, give your list of what you are thankful for. If you’re having trouble coming up with anything, look around you. Be thankful for your bed, your house, your clothes, your food, your transportation, that you woke up this morning, for your 5 senses (or those disability did not take from you) and continue writing them down from there.
As your thoughts turn toward Christmas, what about Christmas makes you thankful and how can you capitalize on that this year? One way we’ve done it in the past is this: We read Luke 2 around our Cross over the Manger set up (which will look different this year), then when thankfulness has been a weapon of spiritual warfare that year, as each gift is handed out, the person receiving can’t open it till they have shared something they are thankful for, then they can open their gift.
Perhaps if you are the card-writing type, you include something about the recipient that you are thankful for, and be honest, truthful, and uplifting about it. Save the cutting/dark/hurtful sarcasm for another time. Remember that words have meaning. Now is not the time to couch negativity in a joke or jest.
Christ came to save a world in need, and we are globally in a very needy time. Regions of the world have faced what we face now, at various times in history and some people are still alive to tell the stories. But globally this is a first. Some will say it’s not as bad as what they went through in their younger years, but it’s bad enough for those going through it for the first time. Pray for those being misled by global string pullers. Pray for those trying to deal with the fallout of that misleading, the deaths and the health struggles, the mental health breakdowns etc. Pray for wisdom, insight, understanding, and foresight for yourself and your household for the coming days because we don’t know how dark those days will become. Ask God what your role is over these coming days as well. Thank the Lord for choosing to come in the first place, for saving you, and for as many things He has done in your home, family, friends and circles of influence as you can remember.
If you are suffering silent mental/emotional struggles because of all that is going on this year, this exercise in gratitude is imperative! Turn your focus to what God is doing and if you can’t see what God is doing, do an Internet search for “what God is doing in 2020” and see what comes up. Listen to worship music, even Christmas worship music. Don’t listen to songs of a harsh man in red who judges your good and bad behaviour and rewards you accordingly! Praise God Christ does not reward us according to our sinful behaviour!!! We are new creatures in Christ! Put Christ center stage this season. Believe it or not, it will help you with your mindset, your perspective, your outlook, and your emotional state. We were create for God’s pleasure, and when He smiles, we can’t help but smile too.