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Thanksgiving: Let’s Actually Give Thanks

A number of countries set aside one day every year for their people to gather and give thanks. I live in the USA, where we will celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday. But no matter where we live, we are called in everything to give thanks (1 Thess. 5:18). So let's actually take time to do what the day is set aside to encourage—give thanks. That may seem like a no-brainer, but often we're so caught up in turkey and gravy and pumpkin pie and football and family togetherness and Macy's parade-watching that we actually forget to give thanks beyond the table blessing.

Here are some prompts to get us started. Even if you lack some of these, you probably have an overwhelming number of them:

Inner wealth

·      Knowledge that you are made in God’s image and therefore have dignity and worth.

·      Recognition that the Father loves you; that Christ came for you, died for you, and intercedes for you; that the Spirit of the risen Christ grants you peace and gives you assurance.

·      Appreciation for your future hope when Christ returns and makes heaven and earth one.

.      Access to a printed Bible in your mother tongue.

Physical wealth 

·      You have some degree of …

o   Health. You can walk, breathe, and digest food.

o   Senses. You can see Christmas lights, smell turkey and dressing cooking, feel the hugs you receive, taste the pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes and hear music.

o   Access. If you need it, you don’t have to fly to another continent to get good medical care.

o   Pharmacies. You have legal, accessible ways to alleviate pain.

o   Food and clean water and sanitation. You probably even have access to these inside your own home. 

Family and social wealth

·      You have a family. Perhaps you even have both a spiritual and a physical family.

·       You have friends who care and mentors and others who have given you wise counsel.

Work 

You got an education—consider yourself blessed. Much of your education was probably even free to you. In addition, you probably make more than $1.50 per day. 

Financial wealth 

You know what it’s like to be able to spare a quarter or more. You have ways to save money that are quite secure. You or your government or your family or friends have enough money that you know you’ll have a roof over your head, even if you don’t have work. And if your house burned, you would not have to go naked. That is not true of everyone. Go to globalrichlist.com, plug in your annual income, and see how rich you are compared to most people on the planet. Then give thanks.

Creativity and transportation

You have access to art supplies, iTunes, libraries, and relatively expensive travel to get a change of scenery—even if it’s only to the local free museum.

How many of these forms of wealth do you have? What else can you add? Give thanks with a grateful heart! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Sandra Glahn

Sandra Glahn, who holds a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and a PhD in The Humanities—Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas/Dallas, is a professor at DTS. This creator of the Coffee Cup Bible Series (AMG) based on the NET Bible is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books. She's the wife of one husband, mother of one daughter, and owner of two cats. Chocolate and travel make her smile. You can follow her on Twitter @sandraglahn ; on FB /Aspire2 ; and find her at her web site: aspire2.com.

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