My mouth seriously starts watering when I think about Thanksgiving food.  My love for mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey and cranberries and anything pumpkin, is borderline obsessive.  When I was pregnant with Sawyer, I used my pregnancy as an excuse to eat this food…ALL THE TIME.  Yeah, I packed the preggo weight on pretty quickly with that boy!

But my love for Thanksgiving season really does go beyond the food.  I truly love the focus on giving thanks.  I am ashamed to say that even as someone who has been given SO much, I need this month to remind me to live in a state of constant gratitude. 

This morning I was not my best version of myself.  I said the words “hurry up, boys” at various decibels more times than I can count.  By the time we were all buckled into the car, I felt frazzled, anxious and sad.  I gripped the steering wheel in frustration with myself, feeling like the worst mother.  I turned around to apologize to my beautiful boys, who had hurried and rushed to please their harried mama all morning, and their big blue eyes were all smiling at me; my sins were already forgiven—partly because they have really short attention spans and mostly because they love me a lot.  And I was overcome with gratefulness and thankfulness for the gift of my roll as their mama.

I recently read the story about Jesus healing the ten lepers on his way to Jerusalem (Luke 17:11-19).  He tells them all to go show themselves to the priests, and “as they went, they were cleansed” (14b).  I love these next verses: “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.  Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed?  Where are the other nine?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’  Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well’” (15-19).

As I read this, I was struck to the core with this thought: I do NOT want to be one of the nine!  I have so many things to be thankful for.  I don’t want to be one of the nine who gets healed and just keeps on walking.  Every day, I want my blessings to stop me in my tracks and lead me rushing to Jesus’ feet, praising God in a loud voice the whole way.

Also interesting to note is that Jesus points out that the man at his feet is a foreigner.  Because I know Jesus’ character, I know he doesn’t say this to make the man feel less-than or like an outsider.  He points this out to show that it was the foreigner, not the Jews, who recognized where his healing came from.  Once again, this reminds me that as a Christian—one who has been sanctified by Jesus’ sacrifice—I should be first in line to give thanks to God for everything he does for me every day.  I should be more immune to being worn down by the grind of sin, darkness, stress, worry, grudges, gossip and envy.  This is not to say that I do not feel grief and sadness, but it does mean that I should be MORE aware of God’s gifts in the midst of every circumstance. 

Yes, I am thankful for the upcoming food festivities.  But I am also thankful for the reminder to be thankful.  I praise the Lord, for my soul is saved by his grace, I have been healed through his mercy, and I have been given much (family, friends, students, dog, provisions, sunsets, avocados, movies, books, chocolate, words, kisses, hugs, touch, and on and on and on) simply because he loves to lavishly give good gifts.

May we all be so aware of our blessings that our only possible response is to fall at Jesus’ feet.  May we go through our lives praising Jesus in loud voices.  And may we see everything around us as evidence of Jesus’ love…especially mashed potatoes and gravy.  Something like that can only come from a whole lotta love.