Come, Thankful People
Following the news in the aftermath of the November thirteenth massacre in Paris keeps our focus on the evils around the world. CNN, FOX News and MSNBC bring us minute by minute updates of the hunt for the bad guys and the political posturing surrounding it. For those afflicted with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) disorder its impact is riveting.
Stress levels after 9-11 increased in individuals as well as the nation. People dealt with stress in different ways. While some resorted to feasting on a high carb menu, others offered more radical and less thought-through solutions; such as, vigilante attacks against Arab-Muslims and a now humorous duct taping plastic over your windows. Anxieties were high and fixation on terror included fear.
Video threats against New York and Washington, D.C. have recently surfaced keeping our minds on terror. These weigh heavily on the human spirit. We cannot function at our best when debilitating thoughts simmer on the back burners of our psyche. Brooding just under the surface, fear grips people without their knowing it. This fear needs to be uprooted.
Thanksgiving is the most highly traveled holiday of the year. It is great to visit with family and friends from the old neighborhood. Being mindful of the lurking enemy, consciously or not, takes away from the moment. How can you fully celebrate Thanksgiving while held captive in the stranglehold of fear or low grade depression?
Allow me to offer some suggestions. First, giving thanks is a healthy exercise. It helps to restore joy and hope when all else fails. A thankful heart lends itself to peace and unity while perfecting love between people. To be thankful requires that we be tender toward one another, humble in our walk, in meekness bearing with the quirks of family and friends while forgiving those who offend us.
Melody Beattie encouraged a heart of thanksgiving when she wrote, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life… (It) makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
As Christ followers, giving thanks is the will of God. A thankful person is able to lift up their eyes and see that there is more good than evil in the world. There is less to fear than to celebrate.
Because we believe that God is good we breathe easy and give thanks. It’s all in His merciful hands.
Your choices are limited. You can brush this off and conclude that it is just a panacea intended to cure all ills. If so, continue to whine, worry and fear. Rather, you could choose to follow the will of God and find things for which to give thanks; like the fact that His love toward you endures forever. Thank Him for endowing us with certain unalienable rights; such as, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Enjoy thanksgiving with your friends and family, pausing to offer heartfelt thanks to the One who makes all things possible. Your heart and mind will thank you.
Pastor Ken teaches at Cornerstone Church, 1775 Stanton Ave Franklinville, NJ 08322, Sundays at
10:00AM. All are welcome to attend.