Thanksgiving … a gratitude celebration. What are you grateful for?

Vegetables

 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100

That first Thanksgiving celebration in America was a celebration of survival, a celebration of freedom, a celebration of worshipping God, and a celebration of new friends, the Native Americans who taught the Pilgrims and Puritans how to survive.

After a year of sickness and fleeting food, the Pilgrims and Puritans reaped a bountiful harvest. In 1621, an American tradition was born, a gratitude celebration.

Our God is a God of celebrations. He established the Passover and commanded the Israelites to celebrate the Passover to remember the time of their departure from Egypt and to point them to the future Messiah.

Another celebration God established was the Feast of Tabernacles:

13 Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. 14 Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. Deuteronomy 16:13-15

A time of departure.

A time of harvest.

A time of work.

A time of joy.

All to be celebrated.

What are you celebrating today?

My prayer for you:

Father, we thank You for Your bountiful provision, for Your protection, for Your guidance, and for Your works. Thank You for establishing times to reflect upon the milestones in our lives and the life of America. May we live in gratitude and remember that it is You who bless us and provide for us. Thank You, Lord, that You love us. In Jesus’ holy name, we pray. Amen

Are you thanking God for a miracle?

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Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. John 6:11

After John the Baptist’s beheading, Jesus took the disciples away to a desolate place, but the multitude followed Him.

Jesus looked on the crowd and had compassion on them because they looked like sheep with no Shepherd. Continue reading Are you thanking God for a miracle?

Thanksgiving, a tradition of God’s people

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100

May the Lord richly bless you and your family, and may you be filled with thanksgiving.

You can enjoy the holidays even with chronic pain: 7 tips

But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;  but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42

The holidays are an exciting time for me, but for those in chronic pain or with a chronic illness, the holidays can cause added pain or fatigue. Like Martha, we tend to try to please everyone else and create a masterpiece meal and environment. As a consequence, we may push and crash and wind up in bed. When we do, we aren’t pleasing anyone, including ourselves.

What I’ve observed about myself is that I keep adding on additional tasks that aren’t necessary.

Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, I used to scurry around the house, cleaning, and cooking for about three days before Thanksgiving. The house would be filled with yummy smells, and the fridge would be packed. By the time Thanksgiving dinner arrived, I was pooped and in pain.

Christmas

Christmas is the holiday that I kept adding more and more tasks. There are the many parties to attend, the cards to write, the gifts to buy, the decorations to put up, the cookies and cakes to buy, potlucks to cook for, and Christmas dinner to cook.

7 Tips

  1. Prioritize your goals. What is your most important goal for a holiday? You may think this is a silly question, but it really helps to consider this question. For me, it is to create an environment for the family to enjoy each other.
  2. Define the steps to achieve your goals. One step for me is to take care of myself so that I can focus on my family during the holiday, rather than wind up in bed with them focusing on me. That means that I may not send Christmas cards, or I may start addressing them in August.
  3. Pace yourself. Now that you have the steps to accomplish your goals, establish a timeline that empowers you to pace yourself. The timeline might include an appointed time each day to lie down for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Enlist support. Encourage your family to take part in the activities. You don’t have to accomplish everything yourself. Ask for help.
  5. Remember the reason for the holiday. In our flurry of activities, we often forget the reason for the holiday. Thanksgiving is to celebrate the freedom that the Pilgrims found in America and the freedom we have in America. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior, at Christmas.
  6. Sit down and enjoy your family and friends. At the holiday gathering, get out of the kitchen and sit down with your loved ones. Good food is nice, but they really want to be with you.
  7. Spend time with God. In the busyness of our preparations, we often neglect our relationships with God. He is the reason we are celebrating. Please invite Him to the holidays.

Mary knew what was most important. She sat at the foot of Jesus. Do you suppose that Jesus really cared what was for dinner? He fed 5,000 men from 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.

My Prayer for you:

Father, this holiday season, I pray that we will focus upon our relationships with You and with our loved ones. May this holiday season be filled with much joy, love, and fellowship. Father, fill us with the knowledge and wonder of You and Your Son, Jesus.

How are you celebrating the holiday season and pacing yourself?