What do you Sa-a-a-ay

“In everything give thanks…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

When my aunt was a little girl, while visiting family
friends, she and my grandparents were given some
bread for lunch. She was then immediately prompted
to display good manners, from my grandmother, prodding
her with the question, “What do you sa-a-a-a-y?”
Everyone waited to see if my aunt would provide the
correct response.

So, what was her answer, after an uncomfortable, pregnant
pause?

“Butter!”

Ah, yes, let’s hear it for Ms. Manners, everyone.
It’s humorous, but too true about human nature, isn’t
it?

Thanksgiving. Gratitude.

We’re inundated with these words and sentiments this
time of year. Kicking off the holiday season in our culture
now means getting a huge turkey which will hopefully
not be under or overcooked, invading family (or
being invaded by them), overeating from the all-day
feast, watching football and feeling stressed about the
next big holiday- and all the work that one requires.

Thankfulness? Gratitude?

Ideally, yes, that should be our response.

“Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances
may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is
the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer
and Mediator of that will].” 1 Thessalonians 5: 18

But in reality? Eh, not so much.

“Butter” seems to be more like it.

Saying this isn’t to condemn anyone into feeling like
a pathetic worm. Human beings are human beings.
Sometimes we’re stressed. Sometimes we’re selfish.
Sometimes we’re thoughtless. Sometimes we’re thankless,
even when we’ve encountered a holiday which
touts the great gratitude message.

But that doesn’t mean that we, upon awareness of
our imperfect human status, are not capable of being
thankful…grateful for something!

That’s even more important if we’re faced with the challenge
of recovery from disorders and addictions. We
need a God who has already promised us He would be
our help:

“For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying
unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:13

That means everything concerning us. It covers our issues,
our addictions, disorders, problems and yes, our
holiday stress. And you and I are stressing, aren’t we?
And there’s more good news:

God’s Mercy.

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning:
great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22- 23

God loves us constantly, overwhelmingly. He’s been so
good to each one of us. Again, in our lives, no matter
what we’ve experienced, there’s always something to
be thankful for. Having trouble coming up with a list?
How about considering these possible reasons for gratitude?

1) You are alive; you have the gift of your life.
God’s not content to just have you survive,
however. Jeremiah 29:11 informs us of His Will:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.”

2) You have a God Who loves you beyond understanding:

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying,
‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting
love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn
thee.’” Jeremiah 31:3

You may not know it or feel it- you may even feel the
opposite of that great love- but God has already made
up His Mind about you- as you are right now. He loves
you. Nothing will change that.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels
nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things
to come, nor height nor depth nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is
in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

3) What about your health? Have you ever
thanked God for keeping your heartbeat going?
Have you ever thanked Him for your
breath? Have you ever thanked God for keeping
your systems and organs functioning in a
healthy manner?

4) Even if you’re ill, have you realized- and
thanked God for being your healer?

“…I am the LORD that healeth thee.” Exodus
15:26

5) And for all you have: in family, friends, freedom,
prosperity, wellbeing and comfort, have
you thought about God’s role in that reality?

“The LORD will perfect that which concerneth
me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth forever…”
Psalms 138:8

No, life isn’t perfect. There are problems and issues we
face- even on a holiday. And yes, holidays, like Thanksgiving
itself, often amplify the stress and issues in our
lives. Still, God is working with us and fully aware our
every thought and feeling.

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how
great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are
more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still
with thee.” Psalm 139:17-18

We’re never alone and left helpless. God IS there; He
loves unconditionally and desires a better life for us.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper
and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2

Stress shouldn’t be an excuse to be thankless about
our lives; it shouldn’t be an excuse to be thankless to
a loving God who thinks about us more than we know.
If we’re stressed we can talk to Him- not in King James
English, but as ourselves. Part of that process needs to
include gratitude…

“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in
every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition
(definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to
make your wants known to God.” Philippians 4: 6

Don’t make gratitude or thanking God more difficult
than it is. It’s simple. It’s recognition of the good things,
the help and the life you’re living right now.

“We give praise and thanks to You, O God, we praise
and give thanks; Your wondrous works declare that Your
Name is near and they who invoke Your Name rehearse
Your wonders.” Psalm 75: 1

Take a moment- not even an hour or a day- and simply
stop. Reflect. Breathe. Thank God now. This time of
year is a great time to practice gratitude. Thanksgiving
is more than a holiday. It’s a way of being. Be thankful.

What do you s-a-a-a-a-ay?

You can get through the holiday season, as challenging
as it is. Why not start with prayer right now, right where
you are?

“Father, I come to You in The Name of Jesus, thanking
you for helping me with my life. You know where I am.
You know my struggles, challenges and stresses. Help
me navigate and deal with them, supplying me with
Your help, power and resources. Forgive me for being
thankless and taking my life for granted. Help me, instead,
to celebrate it, starting this holiday season. Show
me not only Your goodness and blessings; show me
Who You are and who you’ve created me to be. Thank
You. Amen.”

And remember: God loves you, is for you and will help
you through it all! God bless you in your holiday season!