Complaining. Everybody does it. Sometimes, well...actually occasionally, we complain from a positive perspective for the purpose of effecting change and that’s good! But most of the time we complain because someone or something is irritating us, or putting pressure on us or challenging us or contradicting us. Most of our complaints are not for the purpose of truly solving any issue; rather, they are for the purpose of being heard, of having our position or circumstance or opinion verified. We complain for attention, for sympathy and to reinforce our ego. We often use complaining as a tool of destruction against those we oppose. For the most part, complaining doesn’t sound all that productive. So, what do we do about it? How do we stop our complaining or transform it into something good?
Human nature is a funny thing. We live in an age of instant gratification, an age of virtually no waiting for anything. We send a text, a tweet, a message or we post, and our expectation is for an almost instant answer or follow or response or reaction. What we want we not only assume we can get, we assume we can get it immediately in just the right color, brand and style. Getting and having have become so easy and expected that we have begun to overlook the value of patience, waiting and doing without. Human nature IS a funny thing. In this age of abundance, we are experiencing a very high rate of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Why? One reason is that we have all but forgotten the preserving and healing power of gratitude. It’s really simple - for happiness and contentment to flourish, they require gratitude to be their constant companion. Let’s take a look and see how it all works…
Here’s a question...what do the 4th of July and Thanksgiving have in common? The most obvious answer is these two celebrations are uniquely American in that their very founding was undeniably linked to the founding of the United States. The less obvious answer is that these two holidays were also founded in humble recognition of God Almighty. Just read the first and last parts of the Declaration of Independence and the first declarations for Thanksgiving and you will see that God was first and foremost. Here we are about 240 years later and God is no longer first and he certainly is no longer "for most." So, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday what can we do to relight our own fire of gratitude towards God and towards one another? Let’s start by talking about it!
There was once a time (and it seems that it was long ago), that the whole idea of Thanksgiving as a holiday held deep and profound meaning. Seems kinda funny to say that, because when we think of Thanksgiving now, what do we think of? Family, turkey, football, stuffing, days off, pumpkin pie. Eating too much and thinking too little. Thanksgiving – the concept can change your life – it can take you from a crying heart to a contented spirit. It can alter what you see and how you see it. It can find hope and strength where there seemed only to be despair and weakness. Thanksgiving...how do we live it?
Thanksgiving has come and gone. All that remains are leftovers from a great meal, the memories of family and friends, excitement or disappointment at the result of a football game or two and the results of Black Friday shopping… Was it fun? Yes! Was it worthwhile? Of course! Did our holiday really focus on the true intention of “Thanksgiving?” Hmmm… Thanksgiving is one thing – “Thanks-Living” – well, that is an entirely different story!
The Thanksgiving holiday – it is a most misunderstood and misapplied American tradition. We all love the day off, the gathering of families and friends, the abundant food and the design of the day for leisure, but what was it originally? What was the reason for that original feast back in 1621, and what was the intention of the United States government in maintaining the November celebration? Stay with us as we look into some history, some Scriptures, some music and even some humor as we focus on Thanksgiving. Is it just a holiday or is it a way of life?
Last week we talked about hope and its critical role in living a life of value. Hope seems to be the forgotten middle brother of faith and love. In the same way, this past Thursday we celebrated the forgotten middle brother of holidays – Thanksgiving. How do you compete with the costumes and candy of Halloween just a few weeks before and the gifts and glitter of Christmas a month later? So, what about the art of thanksgiving? How can we master the “attitude of gratitude” and live a transformed life?
Its true meaning is practically forgotten these days. Why, with all of the fun costumes and excitement of Halloween just a few weeks in the past and with all of the gift buying, decorations, songs movies and glitter of Christmas in just a few more weeks, this holiday, almost by a perceived necessity has been reduced to a Thursday off where families get together to eat a lot, watch football and prepare for the biggest shopping day of the year on Friday. This holiday is Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday, and it has already come and gone. The question is, did Thanksgiving have an effect on you (besides overeating) that has the capacity to literally change your life? Stay with us as we examine Thanksgiving and its true, life changing meaning.
Thanksgiving! It is a word that for most conjures up images of a holiday – as a matter of fact, it was this past Thursday. It conjures up food, family and friends, it conjures up overeating, football, and a day off; and hopefully, it conjures up...well, hopefully it conjures up thanksgiving! You know, the act of giving thanks – the act of gratitude. Now, with that somewhat novel thought of actual gratitude in our minds, we need to focus on the recipient of this gratitude. Stay with us as we talk about true heart-felt gratitude and the life-changing results of giving such gratitude!
So, how’d you do? Did you eat a lot? Watch some football? Hang out with family? It was nice to have a day off, wasn’t it? Now, we can get on with the business of really preparing for Christmas – you know, the presents, the decorations, Santa, the specials on TV – all that stuff. Wait a minute! What just happened here? I know we all had the experience of the Thanksgiving holiday this past Thursday, but my question to you is this – did we CELEBRATE the Thanksgiving holiday? Do we even know what the Thanksgiving holiday is supposed to be about? Stay with us this morning as we look into a little history, and spend a lot of time on the concept of thanksgiving, and who we ought to focus it on…