Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. We can thank the author of Mary had a little lamb for persuading Abraham Lincoln to establish the national holiday in 1863. Lincoln understood the power of giving thanks in the midst of our nation’s darkest hour – the civil war. The Bible tells us to “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:18.
So what are you thankful for today? Here are some universal suggestions and reminders to give thanks whatever our circumstance.
Thankful for Family
I am thankful for my family. I hope you are too. Many of us will gather as family in a warm home, with good food, to watch a football game or engage in fun conversations. Be thankful. That is not everyone’s circumstance.
Some people will spend this Thanksgiving without a family member who died or they are separated by divorce, abandonment, or other circumstances. George had a son. He knew he should have married the mom, but now all he wanted was to be a positive presence in his son’s life. He was financially supportive, but the mom bore scars from the broken relationship and refused to allow him to see the son. In her pain she claimed the boy had a different father. George didn’t have enough money to hire a lawyer. But he didn’t want to walk away. What could he do?
George walked into a gospel justice center. He found help through a parentage process. He found hope through the team which connected him with support resources and a church family. This Thanksgiving George will have his son with him for the first time. He is thankful a legal ministry was there to help him be a dad.
Thankful for Home
I am thankful for my home. Many of us take shelter for granted. Whether through foreclosure, eviction, loss of job, health or other circumstance, many people find themselves homeless. We just gave thanks for Veterans on Veterans Day and yet there are more than 48,000 homeless veterans in America.
I know many families who serve the homeless at Thanksgiving – thank you! But let’s remember them year round. Let’s not only provide food and shelter but free them from the legal circumstances that keep them homeless.
John was a homeless vet. He couldn’t navigate the system to receive benefits. A shelter worked with a gospel justice center where a lawyer was able to cut through the red tape in order to get John his benefits. This Thanksgiving he will celebrate in his own apartment. He is thankful a legal services ministry was there to help.
Thankful for Work
I am thankful for work that helps me provide for my family. We take work for granted. People want to work but some people will be out of jobs this Thanksgiving. Some are trying to find employment and in the midst of continual rejections are discouraged. Others have wrongfully been let go or work in an unsafe environment.
Joan was a caretaker. But a new state law would require separate licensure which she could not obtain because of an old criminal record. She was not the person she had been 15 years ago. She now had faith in a God who loved her, but she did not know what to do or where to turn.
Her church had a gospel justice center. She turned to a lawyer and team of volunteers who helped her expunge her record. Last month Joan was able to obtain her license and keep her job. She is thankful for her church’s legal ministry.
Thankful for God
Abraham Lincoln was thankful for God. In making Thanksgiving a federal holiday, he declared, “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens“. Even in the midst of darkness, Lincoln gave thanks to God.
All that we have comes from our beneficent Father. Whatever our circumstance, we can give thanks to Him. Some of you can give thanks that you don’t need to see a lawyer (I hope that does not include my wife!). But many people do need to see a lawyer. They need help to secure family, home and work. They need to be reminded that God is present in the darkest hours and there is always hope.
That hope is demonstrated through generous people. “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.” Ps. 112:5. The apostle Paul quotes from Psalm 112 when he encouraged the people in Corinth to give above and beyond to support justice for the poor. He stated,
You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Cor. 9:11.
We are rich. If you make $35,000 a year you are in the richest 5% of people in the world. The global rich list will show you exactly where you rank. We are blessed. We should be thankful. Let’s share our blessing with neighbors in need.
Thankful for Friends
I am thankful for friends. They support me and encourage me. They let me know when I’m being selfish or off track. We need friends. I am grateful that God calls me his friend. “You are my friends if you do what I command you,” Jesus said. (Jn. 15:14). He commands me to be generous in love and service toward others.
Thankful for You
I am thankful for you. You can be generous and help change someone’s story in need of legal help and the hope of Christ today. Please join our Thanksgiving campaign to launch one new gospel justice center. 100 lives will be impacted initially and hundreds more in the future. Together we can advance the cause of justice.
Giving takes only a minute. Impact last a lifetime. Click on the photo. Please give and share the opportunity with others. I know God will richly bless you and call you friend for helping advance his Kingdom of justice and righteousness.