Sunday December 5th, 2021 6:31PM

A day of thanks, a lifetime of gratitude

By Kimberly Sizemore Anchor/Reporter

There are seasons when I really feel like giving thanks, and seasons when I do not.

Thanksgiving is usually a time when we give thanks for all the good things that we have. Let’s be honest, though, holidays still come even when we’ve had losses. We give thanks for our health, our family, and our jobs. It’s a little harder though when we are sick, we’ve lost loved ones, or we are facing unemployment.

Just like Thanksgiving comes just as the winter is set to arrive, our lives have seasons, as well. Nothing stays the same. What we give thanks for today, we may not have tomorrow. What I gave thanks for two years ago, I do not have today.

This year I celebrate my second Thanksgiving without my sister. The last photo we took with everyone in it was at Thanksgiving exactly two years ago.

My mother just found out she has cancer and faces many months of chemo.

A friend just lost a granddaughter. A coworker just had a miscarriage. My best friend just lost her mom. All of them celebrate their first holiday season without a loved one.

Remember that there are many people you pass by every day who are going into a holiday season carrying a bag full of grief with them.

I love this season. I love the lights, the food, the family time, but I’m also quite aware that holidays can also be hard and difficult to face.

This year I want to give thanks for the things that do not change. My hope and my peace are not temporary. Thank GOODNESS neither are my loved ones. Even though I can’t see my sister anymore, she is eternal. I will see her again. So, I will give thanks for my loved ones.

I can give thanks for God’s Goodness, even when nothing around me seems good. God is good. It took me some time, and a great internal struggle, to believe that, but I believe that now more than ever. God’s goodness does not change. Neither does His love or His sacrifice. I can be thankful for that.

I’ve heard numerous people say that when life is hard, the best way to refocus is to give. thanks. anyway. A friend of mine told me that many years ago when she was going through a divorce, she had a counselor tell her she should write down three things every night that she was thankful for. She has been continuing that habit ever since.

When my life was hard, I gave it a try. A great, big Pollyanna try. And it works. When you can focus on the good things, preferably the Good that never changes, it seems to shift focus from what we have lost, to all that we have.

Be patient when you see someone standing in the grocery store aisle crying in front of the pie crusts. Be patient when you see someone angry and yelling about something that doesn’t make sense. Maybe they are in a season where it’s a little harder to find the things for which they are thankful.

And if you are in that season, giving thanks is something you have to practice. It’s a habit we create. It isn't a day we celebrate but a life we live. However, a heart of gratitude doesn’t always come naturally (speaking from experience as a mom of toddlers here). It's a habit we must form. Thanksgiving is as good a time as any to practice.

I’ll start.

I’m thankful my sister is healed.

I’m thankful my mother will be healed.

I’m thankful for my kids and my husband.

I’m thankful for caramel cake!

I’m thankful to love and to be loved.

I'm thankful for Hope and Promise.

I’m thankful for the beauty in the season and the One who created it.

Most of all, I’m thankful Jesus took care of me and was patient with me when I didn’t know how to find gratitude.

This year, despite the hardships we have faced, I feel I have a heart full to overflowing with thankfulness. I can only hope my belly gets as full as my heart, but I don’t think it’s possible.

It was only when I began to look outside of myself and outside of my circumstances that I was truly able to find a thankful heart.

Tomorrow, and every day, I give thanks. I’m oh, so very grateful. And it has nothing to do with what I have, what I’ve lost, or what I face. It has everything to do with where I am, whose I am and what I’ve been given.

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