Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, N.K.J.V.)
Rhonda Reece and her husband Glenn were having a miserable Thanksgiving Day. When circumstances had prevented them from visiting their out-of-state relatives, they had decided to spend the day working on a home-remodeling project. But that plan had come to nothing when they had both been hit hard with the flu.
As they lay there in bed, too nauseated to even get up, Rhonda said, “This is the worst holiday ever.” Glen heard her but didn’t respond immediately because he was too busy downing another dose of Pepto Bismol. Once that task was completed, though, he rolled over to her, stroked her hair lovingly, and said, “Let’s just be quiet.” Pretty soon they were both sound asleep.
It was late afternoon before they awoke again. That’s when Glen whispered to Rhonda, “This isn’t the worst holiday ever.” “What?” she asked. Glen answered, “Remember the Thanksgiving that we visited your aunt in Mississippi and car trouble turned our six-hour trip into two days?” “Oh, yeah,” she said. Then she offered her own candidate for an even worse holiday by saying, “And do you remember the Christmas kitchen fire?” “Yep,” said Glen, “it didn’t make our landlord very merry.”
Now a ton of memories were beginning to flow through their minds. Pushing herself up onto one elbow, Rhonda said, “Remember the Thanksgiving that our whipped potatoes dwarfed the turkey?” That one evoked a chuckle from Glen, and for the next two hours the couple laid there in bed reminiscing over holiday disasters of years gone by.
Along about twilight that evening their doorbell rang. Both got up to answer it, and there on their front porch stood Linda, their neighbor from down the block. She was holding two sacks. Smiling, she said, “Someone told me that you had the flu. I don’t know if you feel up to eating, but I fixed some turkey and stuffing and goodies for you. It’s wrapped so that you can freeze it if you don’t want to eat it now. I just couldn’t imagine anyone missing Thanksgiving dinner.” At that point she handed Glen the large sack. Then she handed Rhonda the smaller one and explained, “There are some colas and a box of crackers in here. Call me if there’s anything I can do.”
After thanking Linda warmly, Rhonda and Glen began making their way to the kitchen to put the food into the refrigerator. As she walked, a wave of immense gratitude came over Rhonda. She couldn’t help but marvel at all the blessings that God had provided on “the worst holiday ever.” She and Glen had missed out on feasting with their family, and their backup plan of working on their house had failed spectacularly. Still, though, God had blessed them that day with rest, a time of recalling precious memories from their past, and a neighbor unexpectedly bringing them food. As Rhonda would later say, “I discovered that I could be thankful for the flu.”
I don’t know what circumstances you’ll find yourself in this Thanksgiving Day, but don’t forget to look around for God’s blessings in them. Even if your life is not what you want it to be right now, you can always identify some good gifts that have come down from God the Father (James 1:17). As Jesus said, the Father bestows blessings upon not only the just but also the unjust (Matthew 5:45). That means that everyone has some God-sent blessings in their lives. It’s just a shame that we only take one day per year to really appreciate them.