Happy Thanksgiving! It’s that time again. Halloween decorations are coming down, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Yuletide decorations have begun to go up in many homes, cities, and businesses, and the annual holiday rush is already beginning. Many people are preparing to travel on the busiest travel holiday of the year, and many more are preparing for visitors. Without a bit of planning and perspective, it quickly can get to be too much. Here are a few suggestions to help keep you thankful this Thanksgiving, and to help keep you productive whether it’s at work or at home.
The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.~William Blake
Anyone can make a list of things for which they’re thankful, and I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to do so. It’s easy, and it helps put stressful areas into perspective. Here’s a subset of mine for this year:
- My faith.
For me, this is an integral part of my life and it helps place everything else in proper perspective. My personal faith is in Jesus. I recognize many of you practice various faiths or beliefs and I encourage you to write down how these contribute to your thankfulness.
- My family.
Both of my parents are still alive and reasonably healthy, and we all enjoy spending time together. The same for my wife’s parents. My children get to experience time with their grandparents and two of their great-grandparents, as well as with uncles, aunts, and cousins.
- Enough to eat. Clean water.
I’ve been hungry. Not because the food wasn’t there, but because I was unable to eat it for a day or so at a time for health reasons. I know what it’s like to be unable to eat when all the food imaginable is within reach. I do
- know what it’s like to wonder where my next meal will come from, or when. And I’ve been thirsty. Thirsty beyond imagining for people who have never experienced it. I hope no one else ever has to experience it. But, that isn’t the world in which we live. Be thankful for good food and clean water, and do what you can to see that others have it.
- My health.
It certainly isn’t what it once was. I hurt, badly, most days. Lyme Disease will do that, even without a couple of other things to help it feel worse. But I can get up nearly every day, spend time with my family and friends, enjoy the forest in which I live, and be a productive member of society.
- My church.
I enjoy the ministries in which I participate. They help me touch others’ lives in ways I can’t through casual encounters with strangers. I’m richly blessed by the opportunity to learn and grow with other people, through good times and the temporarily not-so-good.
- My country.
She has flaws. But she’s worth the effort to fix, and I’m proud to serve her. I’m very thankful for the opportunity and protection she provides.
- My job.
I’m blessed to have a job where I can feel proud of what we contribute every day. It matters. Most people wouldn’t want to live without what we provide, even while enjoying never having to think about it. And that makes a lot of things worth it.
There are lots of things – and people – for which I’m thankful that went unmentioned. And there are always things to distract me from being thankful, and even to occasionally make me wonder if I’ll be thankful again. We all experience such things to varying degrees, and virtually constantly. One of the best keys to remaining thankful, as well as focused on accomplishing what really matters, is doing what’s important. And to effectively do what’s important, you have to decide what’s important to you.
Thriving Amidst Disappointments
Many of you will be entering this holiday season facing what feels like, and what may actually be, the biggest disappointment of your life. If that’s the case for you, there are still myriad reasons to be thankful and people with whom you can share the holidays. And if you carefully examine the disappointment, you may find it turns out to be among the greatest opportunities.
Take care, have a Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy life,