Trading Thanksgiving for Thanks-living

Snow Tree

Happy “Snowvember” from Michigan!

From the cozy warmth of my living room I stared outside in amazement. November 18th and it was snowing. I mean really SNOWING!

Even as I write this I can hear a collective groan from my fellow Michiganders. But not me! As I sat and watched the season spit its first fat flakes, my heart pranced giddy.

I love the snow. I love the cold. I love the winters we get here in Michigan, full of icicles, mittens, rosy cheeks, roaring fires, and hot chocolate.

“The only reason you love the snow is because you don’t have to work in it like I do,” my husband said, already shivering to his core.

He has a point. I don’t have to work in the snow, as he does throughout the winter. On most days I don’t even have to leave our house if I don’t want to.

It’s true,” I said. “I live a privileged life.”

In the days that followed, as I remembered this conversation, the thought crossed my mind: When it comes to life in North America, by comparison, don’t we all live a privilege life?

Note: I did not say our lives are easy. Or comfortable. Or Pollyanna perfect.

Snow FlagBut when we look at our homes, our cars, our clothes, the food on our tables, and the water that runs through our pipes, what do we have to complain about?

Yet despite all I have been granted, I know I do an awful lot of complaining throughout my days. I may not complain about the snow but I still find my own list of annoyances to groan and gripe about.

I love the Thanksgiving holiday but there is one thing about this special day that irks me a little bit. The concept of thanksgiving is worthy of so much more than a single day. It’s more than grace around a table and the carving of a turkey. I love that our nation sets aside an entire day to celebrate our blessings and give thanks to God for all we have, but, really, shouldn’t thanksgiving be something we do each and every day and not just once a year?

I recently wrote a post about how we don’t have time to fight, but only time to love. I’m learning that the same is true of giving thanks. We haven’t been given this day, this time, this season, to complain it away, always wishing for something different, something more, (or less in the case of the snow.) Our days, this moment, this season is laden heavy with gifts, with blessings, and the only correct response is a heart, a tongue filled with thanks.

Snowy PumpkinBecause here’s the thing: All those things we complain about, the snow, the traffic, the annoying lady in line at the post office, were given to us, placed in our lives by the very hand of God. The same God that tells us throughout scripture to do everything without grumbling and complaining. The same God that tells us in ALL things give thanks.

Sweet friends, we don’t have time, or room, or reason in our lives to complain, only time to give thanks. Because what more is being thankful than saying “Yes,” to God? What more is being thankful than opening our hearts, our lives to him and all that he gives?

Thanksgiving can change a life. Thanksgiving can change everything.

Even in the snow. Even in the cold, and the hard, and all things harsh and biting, we can exchange our complaints for words of thanks. We can offer up our privileged lives with not just a day, a month, or a season but a lifetime of thanksgiving.

Won’t you join me?

What are you thankful for this day? In what ways can you replace complaints with thanks? I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends. May it last a lifetime!

~ An updated post from the archives

6 thoughts on “Trading Thanksgiving for Thanks-living

  1. I promise not to complain about the snow in this comment; winter, after all, is my fourth favorite season.

    Anyway, I am thankful for many things, one of which is that you are my friend!

  2. So true! We don’t have time to complain and should be offering our thanksgiving daily as a way of living– counting our graces!!! Today as always, I’m thankful for you!!

  3. Thanks, Mom! I’m always thankful for you too. (And I’m thankful I’ll be partaking of your scrumptious cooking this Thanksgiving!)

  4. So true Jennifer! This is such a great reminder! We are so blessed (I know I am!) although lots of people are having very tough times and we need to keep our eyes open, and our hearts and hands open to help when we can. Great piece!

  5. Thanks, Myrna! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! You are a blessing to me and I cherish your friendship and encouragement.

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