thanksgiving.

Not feeling much like being thankful? I know. When everything around you is painful, being thankful is not in your mind. And even if you think about being thankful, the fact is you don’t want to be.

And a picture of a sunset or snowflake or flower won’t do a thing for you. Not when you’re feeling some deep loss or despair.

Feel the pain. It’s okay.

But lift your tear stained face off  that pillow for a minute and breathe. You see the now. But there is a tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. Don’t let the sorrow consume you to the point of not wanting to live.  Just as quickly as that pain stormed down the door and pounced on you – it can leave just as quickly.

The Psalms are full of the heart cries of sorrow. Yet, in the end, the psalmist concludes his pain is bigger than him to handle. The solution for the pain he cannot contain is turning toward God and saying – yet I will trust in You.

There is something to be thankful for. Something.

Abraham Lincoln gave a proclamation to the American people during the Civil War.  Despite a time of severe sorrow and loss, he leads the country in establishing our national holiday on the last Thursday of November, and called it Thanksgiving. What? How can this be?

This wasn’t a war fought in a foreign country. It was right under the noses of the American people. The battlefields could not be ignored. They were stained with human flesh and blood from the slaughtered sons and fathers who never came home. Surely, our nation’s cries of angst echoed in the heavens up to God’s ears. And it took someone such as President Lincoln, who spent many private moments grappling in the darkness of his soul, to lead the nation to do the right thing. The thing that makes no sense. But the thing that would bring relief, comfort, and peace for an aching heart.

Thanksgiving.

Finding something to be thankful for is not avoiding or ignoring the pain. It is the secret to getting through the pain and seeing your inability to handle it alone. It is the secret to knowing the God you’ve heard about.

Being thankful won’t make the pain go away. But it will help you through it. Abraham Lincoln must have known that.

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