African Thanksgiving

Count your blessings name them one by one ….  Many of us are familiar with the words of this hymn by Johnson Oatman, Jr. published in 1897.

thanksgivingAs a South Africa family, we have been celebrating Thanksgiving for the past seven years.  We have embraced it, not because of our pioneering forefathers, but for our heartfelt thankfulness for the year that has passed. For us, it is a time of reflection over the past year, before it comes to an end, to give thanks for the year we have had, every blessing we have received and every lesson we have learned. It is a time for us to count our blessings.

Looking back on this year, I have learned to be thankful for daily blessings.  To live one day at a time.  I have spent my life preparing (or attempting to do so) for the “what ifs” in life.  Whether it be stocking up our cupboards with food that is on special, or buying gifts ahead of time for loved ones, or planning down to the minutest detail what we need for a dinner party or birthday party.  This year, there was no planning, there was no stocking up, just living one day at a time.

Give us this day our daily bread has become more than a rote prayer or a Christian cliché, it has been a reality.  When Jesus told us in Matthew 6 not to worry about what we will eat or drink, He was teaching us to trust God for our basic needs.  I have learned what it means to trust God.

When we can trust God for our basic needs, it is easy to learn to trust Him with our future, with our dreams, with our hearts desires. 

My favourite lesson I learned this year was that God is my Father and just as a good father desires the best for his children, so Father God desires the best for me, for you, for all of us. I am so thankful for a Father who loves me.

I am thankful for how He has given us some of our silent hearts desires that we have not shared with anyone, like the beautiful antique dressing table I received as a gift this year or the overlocker I was given yesterday that I have put on my list for “one day”, and my children’s brand new bicycles they were blessed with.

I am thankful that my family has been healthy and that we have been able to be together as a family.

I am thankful for my husband who provides, protects and leads us.

I am thankful for my children who are teaching me so many things about life and the meaning of relationships and delighting in God’s creation.

I am thankful for my extended family and my precious friends who are like family to me.

I am thankful for my beautiful home and the beautiful country we live in.

I am thankful that my life has purpose and that I am on the road to fulfilling my destiny.

So, no matter where we live, whether our country celebrates Thanksgiving or not, let us be thankful for what we have, for who we are and for whose we are, let us count our blessings at the end of this year.  You may be surprised at how blessed you were and how blessed you are.

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