In the Spirit of Thanksgiving
- Written by Nancy Williams, LPC
Oak leaves tumbled their way downward to blanket the ground beneath. Squirrels scurried across the mountainside as their feathered friends sang from the soaring pine trees above. The clear blue sky, crisp morning breeze and cool water flowing along the rocky stream joined in the proclamation from nature that fall had indeed arrived to the hills of Arkansas. And I must tell you, it was a treat to be in the midst of God’s creative splendor. We spent a few days recently on Petit Jean Mountain with our siblings and their spouses along with a special uncle to enjoy some family time together. Our homes are scattered across the country and the busyness of life, along with growing families, makes it a challenge to get together; however, once a year we set time aside to do just that. To gather and enjoy each other’s company. No fuss. No frills. No preset agenda. No pressure. No alarm clocks. Just a few days filled with fun, laughter and lots of memories. As I listened to my husband exchange stories with his family about their childhood adventures, I thought about how special it is to share memories with those we love. All too often, it seems as though our conversations involve plans and to-do lists, instructions to our children about our expectations for them and concerns about the challenges of life. We focus so intently on what we need to do that we may not take time to reflect back and share our experiences with those we love. I recall a few tales my grandparents shared with me about their lives back in “the ol’ country” (Ireland) and stories my parents related about their own childhood. Yet, I realized as I listened to the conversations during our recent time with family that I have memories I want to pass along to my own children and even stories to write down for the new little granddaughter I will soon cradle in my arms. This month holds a special day set aside to express gratitude for the blessings that are ours. Oh, how we need that focus. I’m afraid that all too often our minds are drawn to our problems, things we are doing without, opportunities missed, relationships lost, promises not kept, dreams not fulfilled, fears of what the future may hold. Yes, life brings its share of challenges and disappointments. But it also brings us joy. Relationships strengthened, opportunities seized, promises kept, calm in the face of fear, laughter to lighten our load, hope to guide our path. Thanksgiving Day invites a special time to thank God for His blessings to us. As we do so, let’s not only remember the major things in our lives - food, shelter, family, friends, jobs, health and freedom. Let’s also consider the many other ways He blesses us every day. God has graciously poured out His amazing love to me in countless ways – to you, too. Just look around at the gifts that are ours from His creative hand and the guidance He provides as we travel our life journey. Perhaps this holiday season can also be an opportunity to share stories of how God has blessed our past and how He has carried us through life challenges. Passing along the lessons we’ve learned from both the joys and sorrows of life can be a precious gift to share with those we love. Legacies that will live on long after our lives on earth come to a close. During this special time of thanksgiving, let’s pause to express our gratitude to the One from whom ALL blessings flow and then to share that joy with those around us. “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 loving-kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100). Happy Thanksgiving - from my heart to yours. Nancy Williams, LPC is a licensed professional counselor, life coach, speaker and writer. Send comments or questions to her at www.nancywilliams.net. Nancy Williams, M.Ed., LPC is a licensed professional counselor, speaker and writer. Send questions or comments to her at www.nancywilliams.net.