While oversized balloons floated down the streets of New York, my daughters and I attended a parade of thanks. We wanted to see who would first complete their list of one hundred things for which they were thankful.
I started the annual practice before they were old enough to write well.
“Mom, how do you spell Oreos?” the youngest once asked.
“What’s Pappy’s real name?” her sister once questioned.
Many Thanksgivings have passed since those days, and I’ve spent the holidays living in three different states in only a few years. My daughters are making lives of their own. Yet, every Thanksgiving morning, I pull out my journal and number to one hundred.
While the Macy’s parade marches in the background, I list people—friends, family members, and especially my mom. I list the blessings from the previous ten months and think of ways I have improved physically, mentally, spiritually, or financially. Then, I thank God for that growth.
And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.~Ephesians 5:20 NLT
I take inventory of the important objects that make my life better or happier. I list some of the forgotten godsends like joy, peace, love, and grace. Coffee and eyeliner must make every list. As I ponder through numbers eighty-nine, ninety, ninety-one, and beyond, I feel a shift bubble inside of me.
Thanksgiving truly becomes an act of giving thanks.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.~Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
To have more of God’s unexplainable peace in our lives, especially through this often chaotic, busy, or lonely time of year, all we need is to thank Him.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.~Psalm 118:1 NLT
The large Snoopy may deflate a little on the coldest days, the featured twirler may drop her baton, and my favorite star usually turns out to be a terrible lip-syncer. Our mashed potatoes may end up lumpy and the gravy too thin. Someone will probably knock over their glass, and the family may have a tense disagreement right before the pumpkin pie is served. And some may sit in a restaurant on Thanksgiving Day, two thousand miles from their families.
But none of that matters. Thanksgiving will always be perfect when we focus on giving thanks.
In a season focused on stuffing ourselves and dreaming of a big Christmas, pause and thank God.
List at least three things for which you thank God.
Father God, help me pause often and turn my gratitude to You as my Provider, Protector, and Savior. Thank You for everything You are in my life, for all You do for me, and for all that You’ve given. I am filled with thanksgiving to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright2022: Parade of Thanks: Cynthia Mendenhall: All Rights Reserved