Thanksgiving is a time when we pause to reflect on the past year. We count our blessings, remember the struggles, and thank God for the bounty that the fall harvest represents. Autumn’s cool, crisp air and early evenings draw us indoors where cozy slippers, sweaters, fireplaces, and steaming mugs not only warm our bodies but gladden our hearts. We are thankful for the comforts of home.
This idea of pausing and reflecting is commonly promoted but infrequently practiced. Often, we’re just too busy to be thankful. We all agree that we need to slow down, focus on what really matters, and be present in each moment. But if we’re honest, we’re not very good at it. Busy schedules, overcommitments, and constant distractions keep us from doing the very things we want to do, need to do, and count as most important. How can we practice thankfulness when the world keeps chaotically swirling, constantly pulling our attention in a thousand different directions?
In order to readjust our approach, we need to readjust our thinking. We are so often unrealistic about what we expect from each day. Then we become overwhelmed. Realistic expectations for ourselves and others creates a sense of focus that develops gratitude because we are actually able to slow down. This is especially important during holiday preparations because the endless “to do” list often results in deep anxiety that robs us of our joy.
This daily practice of grateful thanksgiving is not possible in the midst of chaos. It must be practiced in silence, in solitude, and in quiet, tender moments with our loved ones. It must be practiced in meditation on God’s Holy Word, the Bible. The ultimate act of gratitude is living a life of thankfulness for what God has done. If you’re not sure what God has done for you lately, perhaps you have not yet met His Son, Jesus Christ, or recognized your deep need of Him.
True gratitude wells up in the hearts of those who understand their own sin and separation from God and their utter inability to do anything about it. This is our need of Christ. We cannot remove our sin or restore our relationship to God. But Jesus can. In fact, He already did. The work is finished. But salvation is not an arbitrary, universal right. It is a deeply personal redemption. Salvation is freely given to every lost soul that recognizes its helplessness and cries out to Jesus. He is our true and only hope.
This year at Horizon, we pause to thank you, our clients and vendors, for a great year of working together to create beautiful landscapes. And we thank God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, for another year to practice gratitude.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy…”