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A Different Thanksgiving

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

Our Thanksgiving gatherings had changed.

I remember them as a child. We gathered at my paternal grandparents’ home first where my grandfather cooked a turkey and a ham, and my grandmother cooked the trimmings. We enjoyed the meal—the adults at the dining room table and the children at the kitchen table. After the feast ended, we traveled twenty miles south where we enjoyed another meal with our other grandparents.

When all the grandparents died—or became too feeble to cook Thanksgiving meals anymore—Mom took over. We three brothers, along with our spouses and children, gathered at her house to enjoy the same kind of feast we had enjoyed at our grandparents’.

Then it happened. Dad died. Divorces and remarriages happened. Parents and grandparents multiplied. Steps were added. The family grew, but in a different and separated way. Then Mom remarried and stopped cooking on Thanksgiving.

One year, my younger brother—who had moved away many years before and normally only came for Christmas—decided to come for Thanksgiving. But the gathering wasn’t what I imagined. I wanted all the family together as they were when I was a child, but most of our family had plans with other family members.

Our Thanksgiving gathering wasn’t what I anticipated. Circumstances sieged against me. But I thanked God for the gathering we had, which is what Paul commanded. We don’t have to thank God for our circumstances, but we can thank Him in them.

We can spout off the typical things people say when asked what they are thankful for—family, friends, a job, good health, a house, a car, God—and I do thank God for those things. But somehow our thanks should go deeper. We should thank God for choosing us as His child and that we had the good sense to say yes when He extended the invitation. His grace is enough.

Our connection with our heavenly Father through Christ helps us give thanks even when the Thanksgivings are different or when they are not what we had hoped for.

This Thanksgiving, ask God to help you show gratefulness.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

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Martin Wiles

Martin Wiles lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, pastor, and author who has been published in numerous publications. He also serves as Managing Editor for both Christian Devotions and Vinewords.net. He is the author of six books. His most recent book, Don’t Just Live...Really Live, was released in November 2021. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of six. He can be contacted at [email protected].