I remember being in a Bible study where one of the leaders mentioned that Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday. One the students responded with a hilarious question.
"If you're a Christian, doesn't your favorite holiday have to be Christmas?"
Regardless, there's something special about Thanksgiving. So special that I would love to be thankful 365 days a year, not just for one Thursday in November. But being thankful doesn't come easy or naturally.
In fact, here are four things that I will have to overcome to be a consistently thankful person.
- I feel more entitled than thankful. This one is the tough one for me. I would never say this out loud, but in my head and in my heart, I often find the thought, "I deserve ..." This is the biggest barrier to thankfulness in my own heart.
- I focus on things that make me ungrateful. Earlier this year, Young Life sent my wife and I to Bermuda for free. Pretty amazing, right? During my week in Bermuda, I had poison ivy. Poisoned in paradise. At that point, I had two choices. I could be thankful I was in Bermuda with my wife, or I could focus on the little thing that was wrong. So often in life I choose to focus on the little thing that's wrong rather than the big picture of everything that is right.
- I fail to recognize how good I have it. The man who has no shoes feels sorrow for himself ... until he meets the man with no feet. This year, 2013, has been a challenging year for me. As true as that is, my heart breaks for friends and neighbors who have it much worse. I'd be much more thankful if I could keep in mind how much worse things could be.
- I'm not thankful enough that I don't get what I do deserve. If the rest of my world falls apart, I can always be thankful for the cross of Jesus Christ. It was at the cross where Jesus took the punishment that I deserve. He got what I deserve - God's judgment - so that I could get what Jesus deserves - an intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father.
Chris Lassiter is a Christ-follower, a husband to Emily (read her moving blog on forgiveness here), a father of five and a Young Life leader in his hometown of Staunton, VA. He has written for VIBE, HipHopDX.com, The News Leader, Rapzilla.com, JamTheHype.com and other publications. Moody Publishing recently put out his first book, You're Grounded, which you can purchase here. This blog gets updated twice a week. Please consider following.