Do the holidays sneak up on you? My daughter said, “Mom! Only six weeks until Christmas!”
Six weeks? Last time I checked, I had six months and was feeling the hopeful thrill of actually accomplishing Martha Stewart type holidays.
But, I don’t like to let rush into Christmas and let Thanksgiving go by unnoticed, since it’s a holiday of spirit and remembrance. It’s a time to relax and be together as a family. We lived in farmland and hubby worked as a farmhand for many summers, so fall is also a time to think of harvest and abundance.
In September, the kids and I begin decorating with leaves, moss, pinecones, seed pods and any gift of nature we find on our nature walks. When we have the energy, we climb into the attic and dig out a few of our favorite Thanksgiving decorations.
I blogged through using these wonderful vintage postcards Thanksgiving in My Heart and Home. These are a free printable download from Hub Pages.
One year I had a bug to decorate My Chairs Are Ready For Thanksgiving. I know, way over the top, who decorates their chairs, but I’ve used them for several years now so the effort was worth it.
On the way to my house for Thanksgiving, my in-laws experienced a horrible blizzard. Their train got stuck on the tracks in Spokane, WA, and I had one extra day on my hands. So, I Just Had to Make One More Thing, this Thankful Garland that’s tacked to my fireplace. I have left it up and changed the season décor for several years now.
Even though I enjoy decorating for the holiday season, I know what is The True Measure of Thanksgiving.
Boggle cubes spell out a heart reminder. Some years I spell out messages with Scrabble tiles.
Because I need the reminder. I feel grief and sorrow so deeply, I have to remind myself there is always joy somewhere amidst the sufferings in my life. The joy comes from the fact that there is always something to be thankful for.
Joy isn’t the rah-rah kinda’ false cheerfulness people wrongly expect out of Christians who are sick, lost their jobs, lost a loved one to death, or have been crippled by unfaithfulness of others. People expect that reaction, until it’s their turn to be tested. Then they understand. We aren’t to be running around yelling, “Yea, I have cancer! Praise the Lord!” It is more of a calm delight, trusting in His presence and His plans for our life.
In James 1:2-3 we’re told, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
Count it joy. That seems a tough expectation until you understand the definitions according to the Strong’s definition of the Greek words.
COUNT - to go before, to be a leader
JOY – rejoice exceedingly, in salutations, hail!
FALL – descend from higher position to lower, fall prostrate
TRIALS – trials of a man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy, temptations, as the devil used to keep the Lord Jesus from His divine mission.
Loosely paraphrased with these ideas in mind, “Go into your trials as a leader, hail them with joy and fall prostrate in worship, because these trials prove you have a divine mission and the devil doesn’t want you to succeed.
This is how we can count it joy and “give thanks always for all things,” because this was the same attitude the Lord Jesus had when He went to the cross for our sins. He was willing to suffer for us, so we always have a reason to wrap joy and thanksgiving around our weak bodies when we’re besieged by life.
We also have a divine mission, gifts and ministries the Lord has given us to accomplish. Thankfulness keeps your heart on your mission when you are suffering.
Being joyful and thankful is a choice, not a circumstance. A choice I remind myself to take.
A free Thanksgiving printable from Naomi at Delight Creative Home.
Another beautiful creation from Naomi. Check out her blog, she generously provides many free printables.
Laurie and Emily at the Glo Girl Blog provided this download created with words from the Psalms.
Now you have beautiful reasons and ways to remind yourself to choose joy and thankfulness during the entire year, not just the holiday.