One of my best memories of Thanksgiving is actually the day after. While the day of is amazing and filled with family and food and lots of laughter, there is something special that happens on Friday. And no, I definitely do not mean participating in the craziness of Black Friday. (Can somebody please say Amazon!!)
The day after is quiet and peaceful - often still has football and family and card games. But when lunch rolls around, it gets even better! Cold turkey sandwiches with all the Thanksgiving fixings extends the holiday a little big longer; bring out the leftover Martinelli's and cranberry sauce and stuffing, but I absolutely love leftover turkey sandwiches on sourdough with all the fixings.
As I began to reflect upon this memory, I saw a correlation between Paul's exhortation to "rejoice in the Lord always..." and my love of cold turkey sandwiches. Stay with me on this as it might be a bit of a stretch. It is really easy to be thankful on Thanksgiving when the table is full and the conversation is lively and the food is hot and fresh! Hugs and smiles and laughter and memories flow without fail. However, the next day is cold and quiet and at times lonely and isolated. Am I able to be just as thankful on Friday as I was on Thursday?
How often in life do we praise God in the triumphs and successes but forget to praise Him in the valleys and struggles? God is God - He never changes regardless of circumstance and He is always worthy of my praise and gratitude. The minute my thankfulness becomes situational, then I am making myself (and my problems) bigger than God. Unfortunately, I have gone down that road far too many times in the past, and it just never works out well.
As this holiday season approaches, may I encourage you to praise God simply because He is God. Be grateful for Him whether you are celebrating or mourning. Express gratitude because of who God is in your life, not because of what life might have done for you. God provides warm turkey with stuffing and cold turkey sandwiches - what an amazing God we serve!