Thanksgiving by Scarlett Stough

My daughter-in-law opened the door and stepped outside with her nine-month old son on her hip. He lifted his face into the cool, but not cold, autumn breeze and made this delightful happy sighing sound. Then he was eager to get down and explore this exciting new place.

He was expressing how I feel on a particularly pleasant autumn day. On those days, I find it easy to whisper or exclaim a “Thank You” to our Heavenly Father.

That joyful gratitude isn’t so easy, though, when circumstances in our lives takes a nosedive--when that trip to the doctor turns into years of exhausting cancer treatments or you arrive at your work place only to discover your job no longer exists.

Even when our own lives are peaceful, we suffer along with friends and relatives who are struggling with problems. So how is it that God can expect us to “Rejoice in the Lord always?”

I believe gratitude is a choice.

Some years ago I decided to give thanks whether I felt like it or not. A funny thing began to happen. The blessing of contentment began to follow the obedience of gratitude.

God made this promise to us through the letter Paul wrote to the church in Philippi:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)