Thanks-living

The place I work has an employee Thanksgiving lunch each year–just a time to share and fellowship together. No one has to worry about bringing food–it’s catered in. And it’s a typical Thanksgiving meal.

But this year, the invitation read a little differently. Rather than an invitation to that “Thanksgiving” lunch, it was an invitation to a “Thanks-living” meal. Just one letter difference, but it got me thinking…

Thanksgiving is a once-a-year experience…a time when we focus on family, turkey, football…and maybe remembering to give thanks for various aspects of the past year. But once November is over, we begin to get engrossed (if we’re not already there!) with Christmas preparations, and Thanksgiving is put aside until the next year.

But Thanks-living implies a state of mind–a year-round focus. It calls me to be aware of those things on a daily basis that I am grateful for–to see with new eyes.

There is so much bad news–it’s definitely not hard to find! But positive news stories catch my eye…precisely because they seem so rare.

What would happen if I spent every day in an attitude of thanks and praise? How would I be changed? I know that a coupld of years ago, when I stopped waking up to a news station on my clock radio and began waking up to hymns / praise songs, my attitude toward starting out the day changed. I woke up looking forward to it rather than being in a down mood because of all the negativity I heard first thing in the morning.

So…as we go into the day of Thanksgiving, I’d like to challenge us all. Yes, let’s enjoy the day–the family time, the food, even the football… But let’s also decide that we’re going to do “thanks-living” year round! Wonder what that will mean for next Thanksgiving?!?

Not sure what to hope for…

There’s a horrific case unfolding in my community this week…at the moment, six members of one family accused of sexually abusing at least some of the children of one of the family members. I have known one of the men. Not well, but attended church at times with him and his wife. And his wife works in the same place I do.

My stomach just clenches each time I hear a news person say “And now for the update on the breaking sex scandal…”. I wonder what’s coming next.

And I find myself hoping both that the story is true and that it’s not true. If it is indeed true, then children were horribly abused by individuals they should have been able to trust. And the lives some of the individuals lived as ministers were lies. But if the accusations are the result of a bitter dispute between one of the men and an ex-wife–which some are claiming–then it is also tragic, and a number of lives have been ruined. Reputations can never be recovered.

So I find myself torn…and able only to pray for healing for all involved. Whichever story is true indicates a terrible rift between family members who once loved and trusted each other–and only God can bring the healing that is so desperately needed.