Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'm Thankful

I was scrolling through social media the other day and saw picture after picture of trimmed trees and decked out halls. The stockings were hung and mantles were dawning holiday decor. It was the middle of November and well before Thanksgiving.

My happy scarecrow is still sitting beside my white decorative pumpkin. Autumn colored leaves are draped across the mantle with a cornucopia on each end. The house is filled with the aroma of Pumpkin Cupcake. 

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not boycotting or rejecting it. Truth be told, Pandora's Holiday station is playing even as I type this. I'm actually anxiously awaiting putting up the tree and I've picked out a very special spot for it in the corner of my brand new living room. But there has been a great debate ensuing as Christmas creeps closer and closer into Autumn. 

Regardless of your position, whether your house is already decorated for Christmas or if you are holding firm until after the turkey leftovers have spoiled, there is one point I'd like us to all agree on.

Let's give thanks. We can do that with or without the tree, right?

I have more to be thankful for than I could ever express in words. The very thought of the blessings that I could count would keep me writing...and writing...and writing...and I assure you it's more much than you care to read. But for every single thing, big and small, I'm thankful and I'm doing my best to be mindful to give thanks.

Here's something else I should share. It's not just the blessings I'm thankful for. It's not all the "good," all the things that are abundant, all the happiness, love, joy and every other ray of hope. I'm sure there's some observer thinking I have so much to be grateful for that I have no room to complain. It's true. Dare you hear me complain (and sometimes I do), please remind me of all I have to be grateful for. But before we go further, let me explain something. 

The "good" doesn't come void of problems. The "good" doesn't come without reminders of problems. The "good" doesn't erase the past. The "good" doesn't prevent or make me exempt from frustrations, difficulties or circumstances that I can't control or change. 

So let's go back. Before I give thanks for what I have, let me tell you how I got here. The pain. The hurt. The  scars. The pit. The darkness. The lessons. The journey of indecision, failures, and disappointment. 

But for ALL of it - yes, I said ALL - I'm thankful. That's hard to choke out at times. Can I truly say I'm grateful for all of the hurt and heartache? Yes. Here's why.

Were it not for the pain, I wouldn't know the depth of joy. I'm thankful for the pain.

If the hurt hadn't been so great, the happiness wouldn't be so appreciated. I'm thankful for the hurt.

When I remember the scars it causes me to be mindful of the One who has brought healing. I'm thankful for the scars. 

Had I not landed in the pit of despair, I wouldn't know the high of the mountain top. I'm thankful for the pit. 

If I had not wandered and stumbled in darkness, the light wouldn't be quite as brilliant. I'm thankful for the darkness. 

Had it not been for this tumultuous journey I would not be where I am standing in this present moment. I'm thankful for the journey. 

The lessons teach, shape, mold. Everything, every single tear, every heartbreak, every hurt, every wound I've caused or that has been inflicted upon me, has brought me to this point of who I am. One blessed, redeemed soul; bought by blood, reconciled to Christ, redeemed by His sacrifice, loved for eternity and lavished with mercy and grace. 

How can I not give thanks?! 

Yes, for this all of this I am thankful.

I can assure you I am one who relishes EVERY part of this entire season. I don't really separate the two because were it not for the birth of our Savior and the gift of His salvation then we wouldn't have much to be thankful for at all. I can also assure you that as I put up the tree, I take care to place each ornament as I recall the memory it brings. There is joy that comes from trimming the tree, decking the halls and hanging the stockings. There is gratitude that follows the display of the Nativity. There is excitement in each gift purchased and wrapped. I'm the kind of person who takes care to experience things fully. And so that's what I'm trying to do. Each and everyday, with or without a tree. Before or after the turkey. Whichever your preference, ANY DAY is a day to give thanks. 

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