Thanksgiving: A time to count your blessings

Worship services are held in the March Air Reserve Base Chapel each unit training assembly weekend. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Megan Just)

Worship services are held in the March Air Reserve Base Chapel each unit training assembly weekend. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Megan Just)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- What will your Thanksgiving be like this year? Perhaps it will include the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, marathon naps, or lots of football. Will it involve preparation for the next day, early morning, bargain shopping? On the other hand, will you, after consuming 3,500 plus calories from all of the turkey, dressings and pies with whipped cream, take time to work on an exercise routine that will reverse the damage of the added weight, before the Christmas parties begin?

While we are busy counting our good fortunes, why not consider counting something else? Before bellying up to this year's turkey feast, or whatever you choose to do, maybe it would be helpful to come with a different approach. There is a verse in the Bible that says, "In everything, give thanks." That may be easy to do if we had a great year, with a good job and healthy family; however, sometimes reality dictates otherwise and misfortune takes precedence. Instead, we have struggles with relationships, at home or work, or both. We, or someone we love, may have been stricken with sickness -- what then?

Praying when you are burdened and adding a 'thank you' is a conscious choice. It is hard at times, but by giving thanks, it makes it easier to put life in perspective. In the Old Testament, God told His people to set up memorials; usually a pile of stones as a reminder of the good things God had done for them. It is easy to forget the good things when we are staring at the negative ones. A list of thanksgivings can be our memorial.

Get a notebook and start listing your blessings. Cannot think of something right away? If you are reading this, you are blessed with eyesight. If you start writing, give thanks that you can do that --and so on.

Here is a little exercise for everyone to try: If you are gathering with family, have everyone jot down one thing they are most thankful for about each person, then share with one another. It may get funny at times, but in the end, you will probably all have a new appreciation for each other.

Matthew Henry (1662-1714) was a well-known writer of commentary in the Bible. One night he was robbed and wrote these words when he got home; "I thank thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was not I who robbed."

Perspective: In the middle of everything-give thanks and count your blessings. It will turn your life around...and your Thanksgiving.